Proposed Buenos Aires exhibit converting Barbie into religious icons cancelled

Controversial art show depicting iconic Barbie doll as figures from Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism and Argentinean folk religion in Buenos Aires (Argentina), planned from October 11, has reportedly been cancelled.

Titled “Barbie, The Plastic Religion”, this exhibition planned to include 33 dolls of various religious figures produced by two Argentinean artists Marianela Perelli and Pool Paolini.

An email from Emiliano Paolini from Argentina dated October one, signing as Pool&Marianela, to distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, gave the reason for suspension as: “…misunderstanding of the work, and the inconvenience caused…”. It further said that there was no plan to exhibit these 33 pieces in future.

In the email to Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, Paolini said: “…it was never our intention to offend the Hindu religion… we know that our work has generated controversy…We…respect each and every one of the human beings, and with them, their religiosities, their thoughts and practices. We believe we have been unfairly attacked…Each of the figures in this collection was conceived from the pure love and from the deepest respect.”

“However, we apologize if you have been affected. We do so with total sincerity and penalty…we extend these apologies to all those whom has been afflicted by happened”, it added.

Rajan Zed, who spearheaded the protest, thanked the artists for understanding the concerns of devotees of Hinduism and other religions by canceling the exhibit.

Calling the depicting of Barbie doll as goddess Kali as highly inappropriate, Zed had urged the artists to not include Barbie-ized goddess Kali in the show as it trivialized the highly revered deity of Hinduism. Goddess Kali, who personified Shakti or divine energy and considered the goddess of time and change, was widely worshipped in Hinduism.

Rajan Zed had stressed that reimagining Hindu scriptures and deities for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees. Goddess Kali and other Hindu deities were meant to be worshipped in temples and home shrines and not meant to be reduced to a Barbie character.

Zed had 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 had added.

Rajan Zed had noted 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 Kali was simply improper, wrong and out of place.

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