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Anti-Christian Art “Cheers” Bethlehem Xmas

From those defenders of the faith at Reuters:

Graffiti artist cheers Bethlehem at Xmas

December 3, 2007

British graffiti artist Banksy is trying to bring cheer and boost tourism in Bethlehem this Christmas with a series of subversive murals in the town revered as Jesus’s birthplace.

The elusive street artist has painted six provocative new images – including a dove of peace strapped with a bulletproof vest and a young girl with pigtails frisking an Israeli soldier – on buildings around the West Bank town.

Banksy, who has achieved cult status for his edgy satirical images, has also converted a fast food shop opposite Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity into an art gallery showing work by artists from the Palestinian territories and abroad.

The artist’s images have fetched hundreds of thousands of dollars in auctions and his customers include Hollywood siren Angelina Jolie. But Banksy keeps his real identity secret and almost never gives interviews. Other artists exhibiting in Bethlehem said they hoped the show would draw attention to life in the occupied West Bank and help forge links between local and international artists.

“It’s important for people to come to Bethlehem and actually see what’s happening rather than just doing the usual art collector thing and making a deal over the phone,” British artist Peter Kennard told Reuters.

Bethlehem residents say military checkpoints and Israel’s West Bank barrier, which cuts into Palestinian land, is stifling tourism and damaging Bethlehem’s economy.

Banksy made headlines in 2005 by painting a series of playful images on the Palestinian side of the barrier, which Israel says it built to keep out suicide bombers.

The new images are more eye-catching. Pilgrims arriving in Bethlehem for Christmas will see a huge mural of a dove on the side of a house riddled with bullet holes. The dove faces an Israeli military watchtower and is wearing a bullet-proof vest.

Around the corner, one of Banksy’s trademark stencilled rats is pictured poised with a catapult aimed at another watchtower while at the exhibition, he is showing a sculpture of a Christmas cherub with a rock piercing its stomach and blood frothing from the wound

Funny how Reuters thinks this will “cheer Bethlehem” and “boost” tourism there.

Meanwhile, from the Australian Associated Press:

Adam and Ewald, sans offending masks.

Hague museum pulls offensive Muslim art

December 3, 2007

The city museum of The Hague has decided not to include in an exhibition a work of art that may offend Muslims, it was reported on Monday.

The picture, made by Iranian artist Sooreh Hera, is entitled Adam and Ewald and shows two gay men wearing masks of the Muslim prophet Mohammed and his son-in-law Ali.

It is part of a photoseries the Gemeentemuseum has included in the 7up exhibition due to open on December 15.

The Gemeentemuseum’s director Wim van Krimpen told reporters the museum is interested in purchasing Hera’s complete series, which he called “high quality works of art”.

However, he added he will not exhibit Adam and Ewald in the next few years because “certain people in our society might perceive it as offensive”.

Hera responded she was “disappointed” and added “apparently a Muslim minority decides what will be on display in the museum.”…

Don’t Mohammedans need cheering up?

Doesn’t The Hague need a boost in tourism?

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, December 3rd, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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