An artistic showcase featuring 33 Barbie and Ken dolls as religious figures — including a crucified Jesus Christ and a Virgin Mary — is sparking controversy in this Argentine capital and worldwide a year after the same event was canceled over death and other threats.
The exhibit, "Barbie, The Plastic Religion," has infuriated religious organizations globally, especially Catholic ones in Buenos Aires, Pope Francis' birthplace.
"Barbie and Ken have offered for decades a model of a couple that attracts children of every age to play with them and identify with them," said Adrian Santarelli, a priest at St. Thomas More parish in Buenos Aires. "The idea of dressing (dolls) with sacred images of sacred persons alters and damages the child's levels of understanding of the sacred."
"Could we consider normal that a child prays to Barbie?" he added.
Artists Marianela Perelli and Emiliano Paolini said the exhibit, on display through Nov. 20 at the POPA art gallery in Buenos Aires, is purely artwork and was not meant to offend. "It was simply the union of the two most popular elements of history: the Barbie doll and religion," Paolini said.
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