Monday, September 12, 2005

Kind of funny about art & religion

This so totally cracked me up...I'm still in a chuckle...!
Credit to The Art Newspaper

“Disrespect the Koran and Allah will turn you into a mutant”
By Sebastian Smee

MELBOURNE. Images of life-like sculptures of imaginary genetic mutants by the Australian artist Patricia Piccinini have been circulated around the Islamic world as a part of a hoax story about a girl from Oman who was turned into a beast by Allah after throwing away the Koran in a dispute with her mother.In April, an image of one of the figures from Leather landscape, a sculpture exhibited by Piccinini at the 2003 Venice Biennale, was posted with the story on a Sudanese Arabic language website, sparking a massive response from Muslims from everywhere from Nigeria to Afghanistan, and causing the Australian artist to be swamped with e-mail enquiries.The extraordinary urban legend appears to have originated in India in March, where news reports appeared of a girl in Pune who had turned into a lizard after kicking away the Koran in a similar argument with her mother, causing thousands of people to besiege a local hospital where the lizard girl was rumoured to be.By the time the story was picked up by the Sudanese website, the location of the tale had shifted to Oman, and a picture of Piccinini’s sculpture was attached. Islamic online messageboards were then inundated with thousands of requests for links to the picture.Piccinini first discovered images of her work had been illicitly used after traffic through her website rose from 150,000 in April to 950,000 in May. A Sudanese journalist, Nizar Usman, wrote to Piccinini by email: “I heard about the story from my daughter (10 years old), she heard it in her school. Then I read it in a notice board in front of the main gate of a mosque where there was a large gathering. Then I read it in Alhayat daily newspaper.” Speaking to The Art Newspaper Piccinini said: “It’s distressing to me, since they’ve stolen my work and used it in a way that is the complete antithesis of what I’ve intended.” The artist has now posted a notice on her website that reads: “This image was stolen from Patricia’s website and used without her permission... The image is a picture of an art work [which] is about genetic engineering and our evolutionary links to animals. It is not intended to refer in any way to any religion or religious practice.” As ever, urban legends are notoriously durable. In June Arab-language newspaper Panorama reported the same story—set in the West Bank town of Taibeh.


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