Australian politician attacks artistic freedom

This video from Australia is called John Howard – Australia’s “Greatest” PM?

The Australian conservative, Rupert Murdoch owned Daily Telegraph writes that most of its readers

are also disgusted by the bin Laden holograph and a statue of the Virgin Mary shrouded by a Muslim burqa.

[Prime Minister] Mr Howard said the pieces were insulting and lacked any artistic merit.

“The choice of such artwork is gratuitously offensive to the religious beliefs of many Australians,” he said.

The ‘burqa’ [called so incorrectly] is certainly not universal Muslim dress, but linked to the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area. Historically, the Virgin Mary has been most often depicted in European clothes, which have as little to do with Palestine two thousand years ago as Afghan ‘burqas’. Well, I never heard Mr ´art expert´ Howard about any of those, maybe because he has never seen them.

In fact, Howard is also violating the separation of religion and state, implying that the Christian religion should be treated by the government as more worthy of ´protection´ than other religions like Islam.

Last night Queensland lawyer [and artist] Ms [Priscilla] Bracks told The Daily Telegraph her double portrait was not meant to compare Jesus with bin Laden, but was a commentary on the way the terror leader was treated in the media.

She was concerned bin Laden would be unintentionally glorified in years to come. …

Sydney artist Luke Sullivan, who created the Virgin Mary piece entitled The Fourth Secret of Fatima, said his work was not meant to be controversial but provocative.

“It poses the question of what’s the future of religion,” Sullivan said. “They (religions) are hegemonic in their nature. They can be all-encompassing and powerful.”

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1 thought on “Australian politician attacks artistic freedom

  1. The Ethnic Transformation of the European Virgin Mary in the Vietnamese Catholic Diaspora

    Date & time
    15 September 2015, 12.30 – 14.00 hrs

    IIAS Conference room, Rapenburg 59, Leiden

    The lecture
    In 1998, upon the 200th anniversary of her apparition, the image of Our Lady of Lavang was transformed from a European woman into a Vietnamese woman. The change was initiated by Vietnamese Catholics in southern California, who then exported the Vietnamized image to Vietnamese Catholic communities in Vietnam and other parts of the world. Today, the image of Our Lady of Lavang as a Vietnamese woman is the only Asian representation that has become global. Throughout Asia, there are local forms of the Virgin Mary but none has catapulted to a global scale as Our Lady of Lavang. This presentation examines how and why she was transformed from a European woman into a Vietnamese woman by Vietnamese Catholics in southern California and the implications of her ethnic image for Global Christianities.

    The speaker
    Dr Thien-Huong T. Ninh is a lecturer in the Department of Social Sciences at California Polytechnic State University. Her research and teaching interests include International Migration, Diaspora, Racial and Ethnic Relations, and Global Christianities. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Southern California (2013) and was a Gaius Charles Bolin Fellow in the Department of Religion at Williams College (2012- 2014).


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