Friday, February 11, 2011

Web campaign targets ‘bullet-ridden’ pope art exhibit

by Thaddeus Baklinski

TORONTO, February 10, 2011 ( - The U.S. Catholic organization America Needs Fatima has launched a web campaign against Toronto-based artist Peter Alexander Por’s exhibit “Persona Non Grata: The Veil of History,” currently running at the Bezpala Brown Gallery.

The Toronto art gallery is showing 30 canvases and four sculptures that include a picture of a seated Pope Benedict XVI apparently riddled with bullet holes, alongside portraits of other “evildoers” such as President George Bush, Adolph Hitler, Pope Innocent III, Stalin, Mussolini, Kim II Sung, Pol Pot, and others.

In a press release gallery president Darrell Brown said that the “bullet-ridden” depiction of the pope is “a less than subtle expression of the hurt and anger directed at a pontiff and an institution that has abandoned its flock, choosing to focus on dogma while its subjects suffer and, in many instances, die from its archaic policies.”

However, since that press release, the gallery and Por have backed away from the “bullet-ridden” language.

In an earlier interview with LifeSiteNews Brown said Por, “painted holes, he does not regard them as bullet holes - that was my view as to how it would be perceived too … by analogy, [they] suggest that this is a troubled institution. He was not in any way intending to incite hatred against an individual. He was intending to promote debate about the Church and its stance on certain issues.”

Por told The National Catholic Register that the portrait of the pope is not riddled with bullet holes but rather that the 37 holes represent a “visual pun” on Pope Benedict as a “holey” man.

“In a way, I’m a court jester. I’ve told the Pope his story about the sex abuse is full of nonsense or gaps, and those are holes,” the 66-year-old Por said.

The exhibit also includes a painting of the “crucifixion of Obama,” depicting the current U.S. president as “a victim, crucified in the wake of special and distorted interests,” according to the gallery.

Brown told the Register that the gallery has received over 8,000 emails from concerned individuals as a result of America Needs Fatima’s campaign.

To contact the gallery:

Mr. Darrell Brown, president
Bezpala Brown Gallery
17 Church Street
Toronto, ON M5E 1M2
Phone (416) 907-6875

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