Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Police close 'offensive' art exhibition
Artist says he did not want to hurt feelingsAn image from the collection that some Hindus found offensive
- Chirendra Satyal, Kathmandu
- September 13, 2012
Police padlocked the Siddartha Art Gallery in central Kathmandu on Tuesday after a confrontation between members of the local branch of the World Hindu Federation (WHF) and Nepalese artist Manish Harijan.
Harijanâ€™s exhibit, The Rise of the Collateral, opened on August 22 and was expected to run through September 20.
The exhibition includes 11 pieces that feature Hindu deities in the guise of Western superheroes, with one image depicting the monkey god Hanuman holding an alcoholic beverage.
Jupiter Pradhan, also an artist, said he was at the gallery with Harijan when angry WHF members arrived on Tuesday.
He said â€śa dozen hooligans came to our ongoing exhibit and almost beat [Harijan] up while threatening his life. Soon after, the police came and padlocked the gallery under orders from the chief district officer [Chudamani Sharma].â€ť
Harijan dismissed the WHFâ€™s criticism of his work as being based on nothing more than a misunderstanding.
â€śMy intention is not to ridicule religion or hurt Hindu feelings,â€ť he told ucanews.com after appearing for questioning by Chief District Officer Chudamani Sharma.
â€śIn revealing the effects of globalization, I only wanted to fuse Eastern and Western culture.â€ť
Sharma said after the questioning that â€śthe gallery would remain locked until the controversy was resolved,â€ť adding that no formal charges have been filed against the artist or the gallery.
Dhiraj Pratap Singh, spokesman for the Kathmandu Metropolitan Police, said authorities would continue to review the dispute.
â€śWe are in the process of calling both parties together to investigate the issue.â€ť
Gallery curator Sangita Thapa, who has also been questioned by police, defended the exhibition.
â€śAs a Hindu, if I thought the paintings were derogatory towards Hinduism I would not have allowed them in the gallery in the first place,â€ť she said.
Thapa further criticized representatives from the WHF, one of which she said threatened her with violence.
â€śThese extremists want us to apologize via every available media outlet and burn [Harijanâ€™s] paintings.â€ť
Axel Plathe, head of the UNESCO office in Kathmandu, said the heart of the matter was the right of artists to work without fear of reprisal.
â€śTensions that may arise between artistic creation and religious and ethical values should be openly discussed instead of becoming the subject of intimidation or even death threats against the artist,â€™ Plathe said in a statement.
Nil Bhandari, one of two leaders of the national branch of the WHF, said any complaints filed against the artist have come not from the organization but from individual members.
However Damodar Gautam, the second leader of the national office, urged caution on the part of artists working on controversial themes.
â€śArtists should be careful not to hurt the religious sentiments of any religion," he said. "The rights of any artist are not limitless in that sense.â€ť