Hindus upset at Barbie depicted as goddess Kali
September 25, 2014

I was sent this press release today by Mr. Zed himself.   In doing some research before posting his thoughts I see that he is not the only one offended by the art show.  Pool and Marianela also seem to have drawn the attention of many Catholics in Latin America.   I needed some images to run with the story, so I pulled the poster for the show, but removed the image of Kali out of respect to Mr. Zed, who I think is taking a very level headed approach to this topic.   There is other religious iconography used on the poster.  I apologize in advance if any of that is offensive to any of our other readers.   That was not my intention.


PoolnMariBarbie3Sept 25th – Hindus are upset with an upcoming art show opening in Buenos Aires (Argentina) on October 11 depicting iconic Barbie doll as their goddess Kali, calling it highly inappropriate.


Titled “Barbie, The Plastic Religion”, this exhibition plans to include 33 dolls of various religious figures produced by two Argentinean artists Marianela Perelli and Pool Paolini.


Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, urged the artists to not include Barbie-ized Goddess Kali in the exhibition and remove it from their online postings and printed material as it trivialized the highly revered deity of Hinduism.


Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, stressed that reimagining Hindu scriptures and deities for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees. Goddess Kali and other Hindu deities were meant to be worshipped in temples and home shrines and not meant to be reduced to a Barbie character.


Rajan Zed pointed out that Hindus were for free speech as much as anybody else if not more. But faith was something sacred and attempts at belittling it hurt the devotees. Artists should be more sensitive while handling faith related subjects, Zed added.


Zed further said that Hindus welcomed art world to immerse in Hinduism but taking it seriously and respectfully and not for refashioning Hinduism concepts and symbols for personal agendas. Barbie-fication of Kali was simply improper, wrong and out of place.


Hinduism was the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion adherents and a rich philosophical thought and it should not be taken lightly. No faith, larger or smaller, should be plundered, Rajan Zed noted.


Goddess Kali, who personifies Shakti or divine energy and considered the goddess of time and change, is widely worshipped in Hinduism. Moksh (liberation) is the ultimate goal of Hinduism.


Besides goddess Kali, this art show also reportedly includes figures from Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism and Argentinean folk religion. Barbie as goddess Kali on Facebook page shows it in a box with symbol of Om and “Jai Kali Ma” in Hindi printed on it.

Daniel Pickett
Daniel “Julius Marx” Pickett has been around toys his whole life. The first line he ever collected was Mego’s World’s Greatest Super Heroes line back in the 70s. He has been surrounded by collectables ever since. In 1999 he was confounded by a lack of information and news about some of his favorite toy lines he was collecting. Since he couldn’t find the information he decided to pursue it himself thinking other people might also be interested in the same news. He started writing a weekly column on the toy industry and action figure for a toy news site and in a years time he tripled the sites daily traffic with his updates, reviews and product features. He built relationships with every major toy manufacturer and many sculptors, painters and mold makers. He grew his hobby into a world wide expertise that the industry has embraced. In 2004 he teamed up with his toy buddy Jason “ToyOtter” Geyer and they created their own website www.ActionFigureInsider.com. Daniel has been quoted in both industry and mass media press outlets. Over the years Daniel and AFi have been sought out as experts in the field. Daniel was regularly featured on “Attack of the Show” on the G4 network as the primary contributor to their “Mint On Card” segment, and our front page has been linked to from USA Today’s “Pop Candy” Blog twice. Daniel’s content has also been featured on MSNBC.com, Time.com, The Wall Street Journal, The Saturday Evening Post, CNN.com, AssociatedPress.com Wired.com, Fark.com, Boing-Boing, Gizmodo.com, Ain’t It Cool News, the Official Star Wars blog, Geekologie, G4, CNet and Toy Fare magazine, among many others. He has consulted on toy lines, books, documentaries and TV shows. But all of that really just sounds snooty and “tootin’ his own horn” – the long and short of it is that Daniel loves toys and he LOVES talking about them.
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  • Gee Vee says:

    Hindus are for free speech…until they’re not?

    Political Correctness is really getting out of hand…

  • evilwilma says:

    That’s…odd to me. I see Kali and other Hindu gods represented in modern art shows here and there, some done by Hindu or Indian artists, and perhaps those are done with an intentional irreverence, much like this show appears to have.

    But, for your decision to blur out Kali, I would think the same should apply on behalf of Catholics who might be bothered by Barbie as the Virgin Mary, Ken on the Cross, etc. If you’re wanting to be respectful to people’s religious beliefs by not showing the Hindu goddess as such, then you really shouldn’t show any of them.

    Clearly, this art show is attempting to speak to the intersection of commercialism and religion, and I don’t see how the Hindu representation is a step too far, and the rest of the show isn’t.

    • The difference being that not showing ANY depiction of Hindu gods is part of their faith. There is not any sort of doctrine in Catholicism that says you cannot depict Jesus, Mary, saints, et all in a physical manifestation. If there were, I would do the same for those.

      • evilwilma says:

        Yeah, but that just begs one of my other points about the fact that visual representations of Hindu gods DO happen in advertisements, comic books, and other art shows already.

        To be honest, I had not heard Zed’s point about representations of the gods and goddesses as something widespread for ALL of Hinduism, but I haven’t studied that religion in depth, so just have his statements to go on. I honestly believe that if someone representing a Catholic watchdog group (as Zed appears to represent for Hindus) were to see this ad/article, they’d ask you to do the same to their holy symbols.

      • STEVE says:

        This is what God’s Word says….Acts 17:29 “Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.”

        along with Depicting Christ as a graven image (hanging on a Cross etc) also violates one of the 10 commandments.Exodus 20:4 “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.”

  • demoncat_4 says:

    wonder if zed when doing the barbie as art ever though when they decided to include barbie to represent hiduism too that they might get upset if he went for kali given how kali is sacred to them. not to mention surprised that ken as jesus on the cross is not causing as much upset with catholics and others too

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