A CONTROVERSIAL art exhibit depicting Jesus riding on top of a missile has been raising eyebrows at a city centre church. The unusual installation is part of the ‘Yesterday, Today, Forever’ exhibition at St Peter’s Church in Hereford and coincides with the city’s annual Three Choirs Festival. The piece entitled Gods of Glory by artist Andrew Found shows Jesus hanging off the top of a missile while a Muslim, Buddhist, and a grenade-wielding nun are wrestling below it. St Peter’s curate James Mercer said the missile exhibit was the most controversial of the 45-strong show.
He said: “The objective of the exhibition is to engage people in conversation, and the theme is a reference to the Kingdom of God, and we have some interesting pieces which explore that theme. “The whole exhibition is an expression of what it means to be a local church in 2006, how do we engage people in conversation about the Kingdom of God? “The piece is not saying one group is victorious over another, it’s sufficiently ambiguous to be interpreted in a variety of ways.”
Mr Mercer said other churches had expressed surprise about the content of the exhibition, but added it was an exciting, creative way of evangelising. One interpretation of the exhibit is the role that religion plays in causing war, and that different religions fight war in the name of their God.
It is not the first time the church has staged a controversial exhibition. Last Christmas a sculpture of Jesus in a waste paper bin was displayed at the church. Meanwhile another work by Andrew Found depicting a laughing Jesus on the cross caused controversy two years ago.
But the question is was it the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch being depicted.
Then did he raise on high the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch, saying, "Bless this, O Lord, that with it thou mayst blow thine enemies to tiny bits, in thy mercy." And the people did rejoice and did feast upon the lambs and toads and tree-sloths and fruit-bats and orangutans and breakfast cereals … Now did the Lord say, "First thou pullest the Holy Pin. Then thou must count to three. Three shall be the number of the counting and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither shalt thou count two, excepting that thou then proceedeth to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the number of the counting, be reached, then lobbest thou the Holy Hand Grenade in the direction of thine foe, who, being naughty in my sight, shall snuff it." — Monty Python, "Monty Python and the Holy Grail"
Jesus on a Missile could also explain the Ascension and would also explain the Second Coming bringing the end of the world.
On a more serious note the curate saying "it’s sufficiently ambiguous to be interpreted in a variety of ways” is not exactly high praise. Art that can mean anything in reality means nothing. It is like having a thesaurus that lists every word in the dictionary as a synonym for any word given. Though the artists intention and the curate interpretation are probably not one in the same.