Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Comment on The Blake Prize

According to their own website, "The Blake Prize for Religious Art is one of the more prestigious art prizes in Australia. For 55 years it has been awarding a prize for works of art that explore the subject of religious awareness and spirituality. In difference to art prizes that are awarded for distinct subject areas such as landscape or portraiture, the Blake has always invited a much more open, personal and idiosyncratic response, so much so that it has earned the criticism, ire and sometimes applause of critics and the public alike. After all, what is religious art?"
The jpg at the top is of the current winner. Also, from the Blake Prize website:
"This painting is Shirley Purdie’s interpretation of the Stations of the Cross. Purdie has rendered this narrative in traditional ochre paint using the visual language of the Gija artists of Warmun. It depicts the important Catholic narrative of the Crucifixion in the artistic tradition begun by renowned artists including Paddy Jaminji, Rover Thomas and Queenie McKenzie."

Two entrants which did not win , but have caused a stir, are a statue of the Virgin Mary shrouded in a burqa and another artwork depicting a holographic image of Osama bin Laden that morphed into an image of Jesus Christ.
Australian Federation of Islamic Councils president Ikebal Patel said the statue was "not at all offensive", because both the Virgin Mary and Jesus were revered figures in Islam
But Mr Patel said he was affronted by the image of bin Laden's face blending into that of Jesus, who is deemed a prophet in Islam.
"You have a revered prophet of Islam being equated to somebody like Osama bin Laden.Also in Islam, we don't have any paintings or drawings depicting any of our prophets, so I find it quite offensive."
So, now we have a work of art that can be considered by both Christians and Muslims.Quite an accomplishment.

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