Timorous Tate

godisgreatThe Observer reports that the Tate Gallery has chickened out of displaying a work which consists of a sheet of thick glass with copies of the Koran, the Bible, and the Torah embedded within its surface. The work is entitled “God is Great”.

Stephen Deuchar, director of Tate Britain, made the decision “in the light of events in London in July”:

It was a very difficult decision,but we made it due to the exceptional circumstances of this summer and in the light of opinions that we value regarding religious sensitivities.

The artist John Latham is furious. He has called the Tate “cowards” and wants his work returned to him. Civil rights group Liberty are also concerned.

There were no protests from any religious group. The decision was the gallery’s alone.

Iqbal Sacranie, secretary of the Muslim Council of Britain, understands:

if the art gallery itself felt the display of the divine and holy books in such a manner would be deeply offensive to the believers of the three religions and therefore withdrew it, then I respect their decision.

(Thanks to Adam Tjaavk)

3 Responses to “Timorous Tate”

  1. Andy A says:

    Might be worth a protest. I could find only a feedback form and I’ve forgotten the URL, but it’s not difficult to navigate to (click on the Tate Britain tab for starters – and then have a fumble around, as the archbishop said to ths snake charmer). For my part, I made the point that, what with Springer and Behzti, we were heading down that proverbial slippery slope and where would we end up if we continued to kowtow to so-called religious ‘sensibilities’?

  2. Sunny says:

    Urgh. Us Asians have a bad habit of taking those books too seriously. They are meant to be vessels of knowledge, not objects to be fetishised themselves.

    I’ve had plenty of arguments with fellow Sikhs who make a big deal about their holy book (called the Guru Granth Sahib) because its meant to be the 11th Guru. The only problem is, its the knowledge that is meant to be appreciated, not the damn piece of paper itself.

    But people have this bad habit of idol worshipping. 🙁

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