A statue hanging in the Haifa Museum of Art in Israel has sparked outraged amongst local Christians.
The statue depicts Ronald McDonald hanging on a cross in a matter very reminiscent to that of traditional images of a crucified Jesus Christ.
The artist, Jani Leinonan, meant for the sculpture to serve as commentary on,
“religious systems and the consumer culture.”
However, Israel’s Arab Christian minority find the work offensive.
Wadie Abu Nassar, an adviser to church leaders in Israel, stated,
“We need to understand that freedom of expression is interpreted in different ways in different societies. If this work was directed against non-Christians, the world would be turned upside down.”
People are so angry that they protested outside the Haifa Museum of Art.
The protest started to turn violent, so police used tear gas and stun grenades to break up the demonstration.
גבר בן 32 נעצר ועוד ארבעה גברים עוכבו לחקירה בהפגנה מול מוזיאון חיפה, במחאה על תערוכה פוגענית ברגשות הציבור הנוצרי. המשטרה פיזרה את ההפגנה בכוח, תוך כדי שימוש ברימוני הלם. כמו כן, שלושה שוטרים נפצעו בראשם במהלך ההפגנה ופונו לקבלת טיפול רפואי @10elilevi @samiaah10 pic.twitter.com/1iO1BRjFfL— החדשות 13 (@newsisrael13) January 11, 2019
“A 32-year-old male arrested and four other men were detained for questioning in a demonstration against the Haifa Museum, protesting a offensive exhibition in the feelings of the Christian public. The police dispersed the demonstration by force, while using stun grenades. In addition, three policemen were wounded in their heads during the demonstration and were evacuated for medical @treatment.”
NBC News also reported on the incident.
Some people agree with the protesters and think the statue is offensive and should be taken down from the exhibit.
That's wrong on so many levels. The crusifiction is nothing to make fun of— Mary Booth (@MaryBoo70819279) January 14, 2019
This is horrible.— Angela H (@ahart1023) January 15, 2019
This is so rude...— mary (@doc_maryc) January 15, 2019
However, others think the commentary is on point.
Art is not necessarily meant to be pleasing. In many instances, artists use their work to provoke one's conscience. No doubt, sculptor Jani Leinonen did just that with "McJesus," which makes a very clear statement about the commercialization of religion. https://t.co/d1mQM3Ucq9— Donald Koelper (@Donald_from_HI) January 15, 2019
McJesus ???????????????? I'm lovin' it— Wham Bam (@WhamBam17) January 14, 2019
Wonderful piece of work— noohrajun (@noohrajun) January 15, 2019
I think it is the best use of Ronald McDonald I've ever seen.— David Robinson (@DavidRo28241738) January 15, 2019
One person feels as though the message is accurate, but the idol being worshipped should be updated.
Using Ronald McDonald is an outdated representation of current capitalism. Better to use an image of someone praying to an iPhone. If people prayed as much as they checked their phone, the world would be a more peaceful place.— Anne (@AnneCJ1) January 14, 2019
Interestingly, the artist himself supports the statue’s removal.
“That annoyed me very much since the exhibit is displayed in the exhibition against my will.”
However, the museum’s director, Nissim Tal has no intention of taking it down.
“If we take the art down, the next day we’ll have politicians demanding we take other things down, and we’ll end up only with colorful pictures of flowers in the museum.”