Gleeso: Imagine the outrage if it was Muslim

ON A DRIZZLING, cold Paris winter morning in January 2015, two men stormed the offices of French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, killing 12 cartoonists and injuring 11.

Yelling "Allah Akbar" (God is great), the gunmen perpetrated the terror attack because Charlie Hebdo had repeatedly depicted satirical images of the prophet Muhammad, a sin within Islamic extremism.

To the trailblazing French it was the supreme act of freedom of speech. Those killed have been lauded as heroes, pioneers of free speech, despite the risks.

It's against that controversial backdrop that we debate the merits or otherwise of certain works being displayed at the Griffith University Art Museum's The Abyss exhibition.

It's not for the faint-hearted, and the Juan Davila piece, depicting Mary in Holy Family, will horrify many, not just Catholics.

To have the mother of Christ nursing a giant penis is not my cup of tea.

In fact, let there be no ambiguity.

I'm not a Catholic but I find it disgusting, degrading, confronting, sensationalist and insulting.

Exhibition curator Naomi Evans says the artists in the exhibition "employ strategies to generate schisms in the psyche'' to "draw us close to reveal ideas from which we might recoil''.

 

 

Recoil we have.

If this is art, I'm a pineapple.

This is about denigrating the Catholic religion, and it's a middle finger to the "troubles'' within the Catholic Church.

There are better and more sophisticated ways to express outrage at the behaviour of Catholic priests.

Should it be taken down? No. Let them believe it's art and a nod to free speech.

For artists, this is about being bold, having the courage of your convictions, just like the French cartoonists, who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

One more thing. Are we likely to see Christians storming the exhibition, inciting violence to protest the Mother Mary penis insult?

Probably not. Which begs the question: What would the likely repercussions be if the painting adorning the walls of this Brisbane exhibition was the Prophet Muhammad, not Mother Mary, cradling a giant penis?

It's not worth thinking about.