August 29, 2013
MY COMMENT: I am stunned after reading Aidila’s report. How can a piece of art criticising President George W Bush’s invasion of Iraq be regarded as an insult to Islam? What has become of us, especially our Police? We seem to have lost our sense of perspective. It is perhaps too much to say that we are heading towards a Maoist Cultural Revolution which led China into an psychological abyss, only to be saved by Deng Xiao Peng in 1978. But we are getting close. We are being very touchy when it comes to Islam and race. It is time for Prime Minister Najib to rein in those over enthusiastic mullahs and the Police. –Din Merican
Police take artwork over alleged religious insult
by Aidila Razak@http://www.malaysiakini.com
Police have taken a piece from the M50 Selamat Hari Malaysia art exhibition as part of its investigation into an alleged religious insult by artist Anurendra Jegadeva.
The piece ‘I is for Idiot’, part of the ‘ABC For The Middle-Age Middle Classes’ body of work, was taken this afternoon from the Publika Mall where it is being displayed.
Curators have taken down the rest of Anurendra’s work, that was showing at the mall’s throrughfare, for safekeeping.
It is understood that a police report was lodged yesterday against the piece for an alleged insult to Islam, as it included Arabic words commonly used in Islamic prayer, which mean ‘In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful’.
Anurendra has not been detained but he may be called in to give a statement to Police on the matter tomorrow. The artist is expected to release a statement on the matter soon.
The work features a chimpanzee in a helmet and jacket riding a bicycle while in the background is a military pilot and the words “Mission Accomplished”.
Under the bicycle is a flag with red and white stripes, skull and crossbones and stars, and the Arabic words printed in mirror image.
NGO sees multi-layer of insults
However, Islamic NGO Muafakat which lodged the report, perceived the flag as the Malaysian flag and that the chimpanzee as a depiction of Islam or Muslims. In his blog, Muafakat secretary-general A Karim Omar said that the work “appears to say that Islam is for idiots”.
He added that the Arabic words printed in mirror image “clearly show that the artist’s ill-intentions” as the works ‘J is for Jesus’ and ‘K is for Krishna’ “did not have any elements of insults”.
He said that police are investigating the matter under Section 298A of the Penal Code which deals with insults to religion.
The M50 Selamat Hari Malaysia show features 50 Malaysian artists, touching on a broad range of subjects including thorny issues of corruption and poor governance.
It is co-organised by Balai Seni Visual Negara, MapKL@Publika and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
Earlier, landscape artist Ng Sek San’s work Malaysian Spring which was adopted by pro-Pakatan Rakyat individuals in the lead-up to the 13th general election was not allowed to be part of the M50 show. As a compromise, his work is showing at the mall’s Art Row, next to the M50 exhibition along with two other artists.