Hindus are urging a Los Angeles gallery not to display iconic Ken doll as Lord Krishna in their current “Plastic Religion” exhibition, calling it highly inappropriate.
“Plastic Religion” exhibition, which includes this Ken doll as Lord Krishna, at La Luz de Jesus Gallery in Los Angeles by Argentine artists, Marianela Perelli and Pool Paolini, whose opening reception was scheduled on December two, will be on display till December 31.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, urged the gallery to withdraw Barbie-ized Lord Krishna from the exhibition 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 feelings of devotees. Lord Krishna and other Hindu deities were meant to be worshipped in temples and home shrines and not meant to be reduced to a Barbie character.
As Ken is trademarked by Mattel, Inc.; Rajan Zed also urged the intervention in this issue of Christopher A. Sinclair, Chief Executive Officer of Mattel, which was named one of the “World’s Most Ethical Companies”.
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.
Rajan 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 Lord Krishna was simply improper 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 frivolously. No faith, larger or smaller, should be mishandled, Zed noted.
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. There are about three million Hindus in USA and moksh (liberation) is the ultimate goal of Hinduism.
La Luz de Jesus Gallery, established in 1986, claims to be “One of the most important, ground-breaking galleries in LA”. Billy Shire and Matt Kennedy are the Proprietor and Director respectively.
Ken (Kenneth Carson), a Mattel toy doll launched in 1961 is said to be the fictional boyfriend of toy doll Barbie. Headquartered in El Segundo, Mattel claims to be “worldwide leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of toys and family products”.