Perturbed Hindus are urging Lord Mayor Clover Moore and City Council of Sydney for immediate disallowing of “Krishna in Erskineville” art exhibition from a Darlinghurst gallery, reportedly showing Hindu deity Lord Krishna brandishing a meth pipe; calling it highly inappropriate.
“Krishna in Erskineville” at ESD Gallery of Sydney suburb Darlinghurst, described as “A series of embroidered works by Leon Fernandes that cheekily represent some of the issues around ethnicity, religion, sexuality and drug use”, was scheduled to run till March 20.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, pointed out that this exhibition trivialized the Hinduism’s highly revered deity Lord Krishna and reimagined other highly revered deities Lord Ganesh and goddess Durga.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, indicated that if Sydney City Council was serious about its role “to advance and enhance its reputation as Australia’s premier city on a global level”; it needed to understand the feelings of its diverse population, which included many Hindus.
Rajan Zed stressed that reimagining Hindu scriptures and deities for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the feelings of devotees. Lord Krishna, Lord Ganesh, goddess Durga and other Hindu deities were meant to be worshipped in temples and home shrines and not to be thrown around loosely in reimagined versions.
Zed stated 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 the art world to immerse in Hinduism but taking it seriously and respectfully and not for refashioning Hinduism concepts and symbols for personal agendas. The depicted image of Lord Krishna in this exhibition, reportedly brandishing a meth pipe in place of his usual flute, 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.
This Gallery is part of East Sydney Doctors, which, opened in 1984, includes 17 doctors (including a University of Sydney professor), besides psychologists, nurses, allied health practitioners and an international medical research team. They provide patient-care and medical-education and contribute to medical-research. Heather Farlow is the Practice Manager, while Gordon R. Carmichael is gallery curator.
The City of Sydney is the local government authority responsible for Darlinghurst. Sydney is said to have one of Australia’s most ethnically diverse populations.