Hindus upset at trivialization of Lord Krishna at Sydney gallery

Hindus are upset over inappropriate portrayal of Hindu god Krishna in a sculpture at a current exhibition at Art Gallery of New South Wales (NSW) in Sydney.

A sculpture titled “Everyone no 83” is currently on display as part of the “Conversations” exhibition (till October four) at this Gallery. It shows Lord Krishna and Radha; with Krishna apparently wearing sneakers, large earrings, wrist-band/bangle, a contemporary T-shirt underneath of his layers of petals and sports a fashionably cropped beard.

Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that Lord Krishna was divine and highly revered in Hinduism and was meant to worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be thrown around loosely in reimagined versions for dramatic effects in art galleries. Such absurd depiction of Lord Krishna with no scriptural backing was hurtful to the devotees.

Such trivialization of Lord Krishna was disturbing to the devotees, Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, stated and urged Art Gallery of NSW to withdraw it from display.

Rajan Zed stressed that Hindus were for free expression as much as anybody else if not more. But faith was something sacred and attempts at belittling it tormented the devotees. Art galleries should be more sensitive while handling faith related subjects, Zed added.

Hindus welcomed galleries and artists to immerse in Hinduism but taking it seriously, respectfully and responsibly and not just for indecorous showing of Hindu symbols and concepts to advance their selfish agenda. Casual flirting sometimes resulted in pillaging serious spiritual doctrines and revered symbols and hurting the devotees, Zed pointed out.

Rajan Zed noted that 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 frivolously. No faith, larger or smaller, should be ridiculed at; Zed said and added that if galleries needed any assistance about Hinduism, he or other Hindu scholars would be glad to help.

Lord Krishna is the eighth avatar (incarnation) of Lord Vishnu and subject of major Hindu scriptures such as the Bhagavad-Gita (Song of the Lord) and Bhagavad-Purana.

“Everyone No 83” sculpture, a part of permanent collection of the Gallery and made of carved and painted wood in Bali; is the work of Australian and Indonesian artists Rodney Glick, Made Leno, Wayan Darmadi, Dewa Tirtayasa and Christopher Hill. Works of 24 contemporary artists; including Ai Weiwei, Anish Kapoor, Suda Yoshihiro, Shahzia Sikander, Ah Xian; are shown in “Conversations”.

Art Gallery of NSW, established in 1871, claims itself to be “one of the most beautiful art museums in the world”. Each year, it organizes over 30 exhibitions and gets over one million visitors. Guido Belgiorno-Nettis and Dr. Michael Brand are Trustees Board President and Gallery Director respectively.

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