Religion always inspired art
THE Townsville City Council’s decision to refuse to place a $ 60,000 piece of artwork on the basis that public art and religion shouldn’t be mixed, raises some interesting questions ( TB, 22/ 7).
The bronze ‘ Jesus the Homeless’ by a Canadian artist depicts a man in a blanket, sleeping on a park bench with his face and hands obscured. The only feature that identifies him as Jesus are the crucifixion wounds on his feet. Eight similar sculptures have been installed around the world.
However, the Townsville City Council’s arts committee has rejected the piece on the basis of it being ‘ particularly keen’ to separate religion from public art.
What an uninspired world we would live in if our forebears had the same attitude. We’d be deprived Christ the Redeemer overlooking Rio de Janeiro, the great Buddhist temples of Thailand and even the monumental pyramids of Egypt.
Religion has inspired art and coexisted with it for centu- ries. It can be uplifting, and it can be confronting. Some people would love the statue, some people would not. This is the point of art. The sculptor himself said that he intended for the piece to be provocative, admitting, “It’s meant to challenge people.”
In a world that seems hell bent on driving religion from the public sphere, it is a shame that we are depriving ourselves of this inspiration, or at the least, these discussions.
JESS KEIR, Hermit Park.