- Helsinki: Nude man photo upsetting Hindus removed from website (10 Mar 09)
- Hindus in USA promptly protest denigration of Hinduism (6 March 09)
- Hindus ask to remove disrespectful photo from Helsinki museum! (2 March 09)
March 10, 2009
Helsinki (Finland): The controversial photograph of a nude man with visible genitals on display at a renowned government run Helsinki (Finland) museum, which enraged the Hindus in various parts of the world, has been removed from website.
The exhibition website previously displayed 72 slides of art pieces while now it only shows 71. The photograph number 32, which agitating Hindus said denigrated their religion, titled “Hinduism: The Night of Pushkar 2”, is not there anymore. Instead, at 32 is another photo titled “Hinduism: The River”, which apparently shows a woman from backside standing in the water.
Acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, who spearheaded the protest, has welcomed this gesture, calling it “a step in the right direction”.
In a statement in Nevada (USA) today, Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, said that their protest, however, would continue till the apparently denigrating photograph was removed from the actual display in the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art; till they were assured that it would not be displayed in Tampere, Turku and Vaasa cities in Finland where exhibition planned to travel in the near future; and till public apology was not rendered by Finland Education Minister Henna Virkkunen, Director General of the Finnish National Gallery Risto Ruohonen, Kiasma Director Brendt Arell, and award winning artist Marita Liulia.
Meanwhile, Hindus have also sought intervention from Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, the majority church which claims over 80 percent of Finns as members, for removal of this controversial photograph, with Rajan Zed saying that it was the responsibility of the majority to protect its minority.
On another note, Finland Prime Minister’s office has forwarded the Hindu leaders’ request for removal of this “disrespectful” photograph from the exhibition to National Board of Antiquities of Finland “for further possible actions”.
Rajan Zed points out that Hindus are for freedom of expression as much as anybody else if not more. Hindu tradition encourages peaceful debates, won on their intellectual merit. But faith is something sacred and attempts at belittling it hurt the devotees.
Zed further said that continual showing of naked man, as an apparent representation of Hinduism and sacred city of Pushkar despite protests and requests was very disturbing to already upset Hindu populace of the world. This controversial photograph is on display till April 19 as part of Marita Liulia’s “Choosing My Religion” multimedia exhibition at Kiasma, in which her art pieces juxtapose Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Sikhism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Shinto, and Animism. Kiasma is a unit of Finnish National Gallery, a public body under Finland Ministry of Education.
Rajan Zed has described this photograph display as “very disrespectful, hurting and irreverent”.
March 6, 2009
Falgun Shuddha Dashmi
USA: The Forum for Hindu Awakening (USA) in a protest initiated yesterday and spearheaded by Rajan Zed have protested against Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki for displaying a photograph titled "Hinduism: The Night of Pushkar 2", which shows a naked man with genitals exposed, as a representation of Hinduism and the sacred city of Pushkar.
Read the protest letter below
We at the Forum for Hindu Awakening are highly disturbed by learning that Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, is displaying a photograph titled "Hinduism: The Night of Pushkar 2", which shows a naked man with genitals exposed, as a representation of Hinduism and the sacred city of Pushkar.
We urge you to immediately remove this photograph, as it is very hurtful to Hindu populace of the world and they feel highly offended. We do not understand why this derogatory photograph was allowed at the first place in a publicly funded museum. A public apology by the museum or ministry official after removal of this photograph would be an appreciable gesture to heal the wounds of millions of Hindus.
Please let us know when you remove the picture from display, so that we can further inform the concerned Hindu community.
Forum for Hindu Awakening
March 02, 2009
USA: Perturbed Hindus have demanded immediate removal of photograph titled “Hinduism: The Night of Pushkar 2” from Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art in Helsinki, alleging it to be very disrespectful, hurting and irreverent.
Acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that Pushkar was highly revered in Hinduism and showing frontal male nudity to represent Hinduism and Pushkar was very disturbing. Exhibition, which included this photograph, was claimed to be "the major world religions seen through the eyes of the media artist”, and the artist apparently saw Hinduism and Pushkar in a naked male with a hanging penis.
Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, said that in addition to immediate removal of this photograph, artist Marita Liulia, Kiasma Director Brendt Arell, Director General of the Finnish National Gallery Risto Ruohonen, and Finland Minister of Education Henna Virkkunen, should issue public apology for this denigration. Kiasma is a unit of Finnish National Gallery, a public body under Finland Ministry of Education.
Hinduism was the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion adherents and rich philosophical thought and it should not be taken lightly, Rajan Zed stressed.
This photograph (50X70 cm) on aluminum showing a naked man sitting on a wall is currently showing as a part of Marita Liulia’s “Choosing My Religion” multimedia exhibition (from February 13 to April 19), which claims to view the major religions of the world from multiple perspectives. Liulia’s 72 art pieces juxtapose Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Sikhism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Shinto, and Animism. The exhibition is said to be a visual and experiential whole comprising photographs, paintings, objects and media works. This exhibition will later travel to Tampere, Turku and Vaasa cities in Finland.
Sacred town of Pushkar (Rajasthan, India), on the shores of sacred Pushkar lake, dating back to fourth century BCE, is associated with Hindu Lord Brahma (God of creation), sages Visvamitra and Parasara, bhagat Prahlada, apsara Menaka, etc. It houses a 14th century Brahma temple, only one of its kind in the world, and finds mention in Hindu epics Ramayana and Mahabharata, Vamana Purana, Abhigyan Sakuntalam, etc. Large number of pilgrims flock to it on/around Kartik Purnima to take a dip. The area has other important Hindu temples also, including Savitri, Varah, Mahadev, Ramavaikunth, etc.
Finnish National Gallery, largest art museum organization in Finland, had 355,800 visitors in 2007 and its costs that year were 21.4 million Euros. Internationally acclaimed Kiasma is the most popular museum in Finland, where “people, ideas and ideologies meet and mingle". Award winning Marita Liulia is a versatile visual artist and a pioneer of interactive multimedia, whose works have been exhibited and performed in over 40 countries.