Controversial Barbie doll exhibition causes fury
Argentinian artists Marianela Perelli and Pool Paolini came under heavy criticism after creating a dubious exhibition called “Barbie: The Plastic Religion”.
The artists initially created 33 Barbie, Ken and Skipper dolls that represented religious figures from Catholicism, Judaism and Buddhism in 2014. They opened an exhibition that resulted in an international backlash in 2015, condemning them for blasphemy.
Following the success of the recent Barbie movie, they have expanded their doll collection. This includes a Barbie and Ken each nailed to a pink cross, as well as a Virgin Mary Barbie, a Moses Ken and a Barbie nativity scene.
Many people think the project is provocative, disrespectful and insults sacred figures. “Seeking fame in an infamous way, what a disappointment” and “Respect the Sacred faith!” are just two of many responses on social media.
SIR, an Italian website backed by the Italian bishops conference, denounced the controversial toys in an editorial titled: “What is the difference between provocation and bad taste?”
The couple claim that their work has been “misunderstood” and that their intention was not to offend or mock anyone’s belief, but to celebrate the richness and diversity of the human spirit. “If there’s a Barbie doctor, a teacher and a police officer, why shouldn’t there be a Virgin of Lujan Barbie? We respect all traditions and religions but our work is intended to pay homage to these figures. We don’t intend to offend any religion.”
They even sent a doll called Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Barbie to Pope Francis.