Artists without talent and judges without courage.

My former home town of Grand Rapids has become somewhat well-known in the art world for its annual Art Prize competition, so I was interested to read that there has been some controversy over a sculpture that was accepted and then rejected this year.  A few things stood out to me in the article Controversial Art Prize sculpture seeks new home after city refuses it:

A controversial Art Prize 2015 entry created using the burned remains of three holy texts may be out of the seventh annual event.

But artist Nabil Mousa has a lifeline if he can find another venue willing to take his sculpture titled “Paradise Built on the Bones of the Slaughtered,” a set of three welded towers displaying ashes of the Bible, the Koran and the Torah.

Its intended venue was Grand Rapids City Hall. But the city has since decided against accepting it.

…Mousa, who was raised a Christian, said his sculpture isn’t an expression of anger against religion.

“There’s a message behind it,” Mousa said in a released statement. “And that message is that people of different religions are not really applying what those holy books tell them.”

Christianity, Islam and Judaism all share the same God and profess to preach tolerance and mutual respect. Yet the three are embroiled in perpetual inter-conflict.

“They’re more notable today for their mutual antagonism, ill-will and violent acts,” Mousa said. “My answer to that is these burned tomes that enact a kind of cleansing ritual in which self-reflection about faith and mutual responsibility is the hopeful end result.”

“Paradise Built on the Bones of the Slaughtered” illustrates his disenfranchisement with religion beginning with his experience in coming out gay to his family years ago.

“It was really very hard for me to cope with that,” he said.

Though a naturalized American who has lived most of his life in the United States, the 49-year-old artist experienced the same discrimination others of Middle Eastern ancestry experienced following the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001.

The first thing that stood out to me is that the city rejected this installation for one reason only: cowardice.  Don’t get me wrong – I think the sculpture is an absolute joke, not worth the cost of the books burned to make it.  But the only reason the city rejected this is fear of Muslims.  Offending Christians is de rigueur in the art world, so we know that had nothing to do with why the sculpture was rejected.  But how did art offensive to Muslims work out for Charlie Hebdo or any of the other recent incidents where Muslims were offended by art?  It usually ends in serious blood shed.  So the decision to reject the piece was most likely not motivated by the fact that the sculpture is a) a ridiculous piece of crap or b) offensive to Christians but most likely because c) the art council fears violence at the hands of Muslims.  You’ll never hear them admit it, of course.  Either way, I’m not shedding any tears that they rejected it.

But the second thing that stood out to me in the article was this bit:

Christianity, Islam and Judaism all share the same God and profess to preach tolerance and mutual respect. Yet the three are embroiled in perpetual inter-conflict.

That isn’t a quote from anyone; that is the author of the news article interjecting his opinion as if it were established fact.  In reality, we do not share the same God.  Christians believe that Jesus Christ is part of the Trinitarian God comprised of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Muslims and Jews absolutely reject this, which means we do not worship the same God.  There is some argument to be made the since Christianity flowed out of Judaism in some way we worship the same God, but Islam is a religion that was created in and of itself; it did not flow out of any other religion, despite the fact that Muslims claim Abraham as their forefather.  But putting aside the discussion about whether it is the same God or not, I found the way that the news story inserts this debatable opinion as if it were settled science to be quite typical of modern media tactics.  Always keep that in mind when you read the news.

And finally, about Nabil Mousa…here is his great masterpiece:

Uh-huh.  So even by modern “art” standards, how did this guy even get noticed?

Because he is an A1 victim status seeker, that’s how.  Notice how he makes sure to bash Christianity for his emotional distress about revealing his homosexuality to his family.  Furthermore, notice how he jumps right on the Me Too! bandwagon of Islamaphobia: It Happened To ME! even though he isn’t even Muslim.  He’s working every Officially Oppressed Minority angle he can find.

I guess when some charred books stuck to metal bars is the culmination of your artistic abilities, playing the victim card is all you have to fall back on.

No talent but plenty of Victim Credibility has Mr. Mousa.

6 thoughts on “Artists without talent and judges without courage.

  1. I don’t know. If I had to do it, I would have a bear looking off in the distance wondering what was on the other side of the mountain.
    But, that’s me.


  2. Well, he appears to have a little bit of talent for metalworking and pyromania–maybe he can make a career out of the first, but hopefully not out of the second.

    And I’ve got to had it to him for having the guts to piss off Muslims, too. He’s not all bad, though I’ve got to be concerned for him risking both homosexual sex and jihadis. Hopefully he pays attention to the data about both and comes to Christ before one of those kills him.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Given what I have heard about what is going on in Europe, could the judges have been wise in their trepidation? I heard one report of grenades being tossed in Malmo, Sweden.
    The “bear looking off into the distance” concept is beginning to sound much better.


  4. seems like the easiest thing in the world to be a victim. And good catch on the authors editorial comment about the 3 religions all worshipping the same god.

    Liked by 1 person

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