Thursday, July 07, 2011

Ganesha As Public Art

I only write about local issues when they are so ludicrous they deserve scathing comment because I usually get myself in hot water.  So be it.

Those of you who know me,  know I'm a huge advocate of public art.  I was pleased to see Coeur d'Alene put in place such a program.  I wasn't so pleased to see the prejudicial outcry over one particular piece.  A depiction of Ganesha, the Hindu Deity depicted as an elephant riding a mouse.

Odd, our other notable public art is the depiction of Mudgy and Millie, a moose and his best friend,  a mouse.

The mouse, however, isn't the issue.  It's the elephant.  A group of misguided "Christians" see it as a violation of church and state, state being the city.  The representation of a heathen deity on our oh so "Christian" soil.  Please.

A petition is being circulated among various churches to have the offensive piece removed.  Everything is being seen in it from the trunk being a phallic symbol to variations of Nazi swastikas.  It's like seeing the Virgin Mary in your toast!

I am going to Art Walk tomorrow evening, camera in hand to take my own photos.  I have not seen one showing the mouse.  I also, have not seen comment from the artist as to why he chose this being, but to me it's an awesome representation of what we all should be striving for in our lives.

That anyone finds this symbol of Hinduism offensive hasn't done his homework.  He is a beautiful figure and I have included an illustration describing the symbolism of each of his parts.  The story in text can be found here .

There is nothing sexual nor evil about it.  How can anyone find fault with a deity of the 4th largest religion in the world?  The Lord of Success who shows his humility by riding a mouse, the lowliest of creatures.  The destroyer of vanity, selfishness and pride.

All Hindus worship Ganesha regardless of their sectarian belief. To envision him as these few do makes me wonder what their god must think.  Or more so, what god they worship.


Margie's Musings said...

Some people just look for stuff on which to object. That's silly.

Good for you, Mari, for having good sense.

Word Tosser said...

Thanks for the added explanation of what it means..
As one said... it is all in the eyes of the beholder... to me and I do call myself a Christian.. it is art. As a town that prides itself on human rights and etc. You would think they would be more tolerant..but then again, this is just a small group, that is protesting.

rickdavissculpture said...

Thank you for this. As ignorant and sometimes scary as some of the protesters posts are, there are far more enlightened and openminded ones like yours to counter them.
As for a comment from the artist, I have been interviewed by KREM2 news (about 2 seconds of which was actually aired)and multiple print journalists. I have explained the symbolism represented above multiple times. Few columnists and especially the TV news folks have seen fit to air that information. The reason I originally chose to do this piece was at the suggestion of my yoga teacher. But as the project progressed, and I did more research into Ganesha, the themes that surround him seemed to be unfolding in my life. So he became a 3 1/2 year teaching/learning moment for me.

Dogwalk said...

Mr. Davis, if I had $35,000 I'd buy your piece and put it in my front yard. I had a good look at it at Art Walk and absolutely fell in love with it. Forget the controversy - it's a great piece!

I am an artist, of sorts, myself and we are collectors so my assessment does come from some background in standards of excellence.

Thanks so much for commenting.