The Blake Prize entry titled "Bearded Orientals: Making the Empire Cross" by artist Priscilla Bracks is exhibited in Sydney August 30, 2007. The "double vision" print, which depicts both Jesus Christ and Osama bin Laden, in a Christ-like pose, depending on which side.
I saw this story this morning and then some more information at Cosmos-Liturgy-Sex where the articles explains her motive.
When you observe these two people, Osama Bin Ladin and Jesus, their ethics could not be more different. But they were both pursued by two of the world’s most powerful armies – the US and the Roman armies. Jesus is clearly defined by history, but I am interested in how history will treat the image of Osama.
This work has quite an open text so people are likely to read the image in many different ways. Some have mentioned they see it as a juxtaposition of good and evil, whilst others are interested in its comment on how iconic figures are created.
Well I think it would be more correct to say that Jesus pursued the Roman army (as he pursues all of us) and not that he was pursued by them. Though members of the Roman army did pursue Jesus at times such as the Centurion with great faith who requested that his slave be healed or the other Centurion that at Jesus’ death said "Surely He was the Son of God." This artist though has totally missed the fact that the Roman army as a whole had little to do with Jesus nor any other army.
One thing about this painting though is that it does show a truth despite the artist’s intention. We should see Christ in everybody, especially our enemies when it is the hardest and most difficult to discern. Bin Laden’s actions in no real way reflect Jesus and any parallels are of the reverse type. But Bin Laden like all of us is is created in the image of God. Unfortunately for Bin Laden his message is "Spread the Koran always and if necessary use bombs." It is quite difficult to pray for our enemies and is almost impossible in the case of this terrorist if we can’t discern Christ’s image in him by at least recognizing that Jesus actively wants him to be saved.
Australian artist, Priscilla Bracks, insisted that her Jesus- bin Laden “art”, was not meant to offend but a medium in which to promote discussions and to ask questions about how we think about our world and what is accepted and what is not accepted.
Well you just know that the "promote discussion" excuse would be offered and shelray says it well.
As children, how many of us didn’t enjoy any opportunity to provoke or take a jab those who we did not agree with nor like? I wonder how the crowd who supports her “art”work would be just as supportive if, in the name of promoting discussion and questions, she morphed Margarett Sanger/Planned Parenthood with Hitler or Stalin?