My wife and I went to an awesome art exhibition today, held at Rationalist House, called “Blasphemy“. It was the first art exhibition ever held at Rationalist House and it was absolutely fantastic. The art on display can candidly be called “truth” because that is what it is, the visual portrayal of the real, uncoloured truth of religion.
The talented artist whose work was on display is Nichola Romney who made front page news a while ago for creating a different “persona” to prevent (or mitigate I suppose) repercussions from her religious husband and fundamentalist family.
While several of the paintings appealed to me, two in particular stood out. The first one, titled “Acanthus Crown”, beautifully shows a woman in a crown of thorns and goes on to talk about the wholesale subjugation of women by religion. The artist provides this short description:
The story goes, that Jesus wore the crown of thorns at his crucifixion, as a humiliation. This painting reflects on the issue of ‘subjugation’, and books of religion being woman’s crown of ‘humiliation and subjugation’. In principio erat verbum (in the beginning was the word) – refers to holy books of God’s inspired word.
I think this is an insightful and inspired painting portraying both the truth of the subjugation of women in the Abrahamic religions while pointing out the hypocrisy of the religions doing the subjugation.
The second painting, my favourite, does not prevaricate in its criticism. It is called “Crucifixio – Fiction” and is a painting portraying a Christian cross overlaid by a replication of da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man styled to look like Jesus Christ being crucified on the left while on the right has the following text:
I will sacrifice my perfect & innocent son… to a death by crucifixion. A most slow, painful, gruesome & humiliating death. I will sacrifice my wonderful son, so that others who sin, may be saved. The man who brutally rapes a girl child, then buries her alive… if that sinner one day ‘believes’ in me, then I shall absolve him of his sins, however many. I shall also give him eternal life in heaven. As for the innocent little girl who was brutally raped and murdered… well that’s a real shame. Her parents were non-believers so she was sinful & unclean. She goes to hell and shall remain there for all eternity.
god is good.
god is love.
god is just.
The artist’s description:
Crucifixio – fiction. Basically stating that the crucifixion of Jesus and the resurrection is ‘made up’. There is not a ‘single piece’ of evidence supporting this story, nothing in archaeology of history that proves it could have happened. There are records available from the time of the ‘supposed’ even but not a single word mentioned about there being a man called ‘Jesus’ the son of God, or even being a prophet. Theologians and researches refer to Jesus as the ‘missing man’. The words in this painting aren’t pleasant, however, preachers & religious books say, if a child is not part of a Christian family, and the child dies, then they spend eternity in hell. A murderer is ‘saved’ if he believes in Jesus.
I have written about this subject a number of times which is probably why the painting speaks to me – it highlights a particularly loathsome horror of a doctrine.
We had a chat with Nichola herself who was present at the exhibit which was quite a treat. It was interesting to be able to engage with the artist about the work on display, to understand her motivation and her inspiration. She’s pretty cool, I have to say.
The exhibit is on until the 19th of June so if you’re in Auckland and up for a bit of controversial “Blasphemous” art, I highly recommend that you make an effort to visit Rationalist House, the only place in Auckland that would host it.