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.
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.
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