Thursday, October 2, 2008

Is an Image of Buddha Appropriate for an Underpass

We have heard that one member of the community is questioning whether it is appropriate to have a "religious" image painted on public property and another is questioning whether a Buddhist image should be used to fight blight.

Regarding the appropriateness of whether a Buddhist image should be used to fight blight, I think that the individual posing this question grossly misinterpreted the original posting on the We Fight Blight Blog. Frankly, there may be many different interpretations regarding the image--both positive and negative. Isn't that what public art is about? One consequence, regardless of whether it is a Buddhist image or another cultural or artistic symbol or rendering painted on the wall, is that the community may be more appreciative and respectful of the space and less willing to dump on it. This concerned individual seems to make an interesting assumption that the image was specifically chosen to fight blight. That was not the stated reason why the artist selected the image, but it certainly may be one consequence of the image. I would invite this concerned citizen to contact the artist directly, rather than make an assumption about the intended purpose of the specific image, .

Regarding whether we should allow "religious" images to be painted on public property is certainly an important question. In this case, however, there is some disagreement as to whether Buddhism is considered a "religion". Just Google this question and you will see a wide range of opinions. It largely depends how one defines religion and how one views the various sects of Buddhism.

The bottom line is that everyone in the community will not agree on any particular or specific artistic image or rendering. Art is subjective and at times thought provoking. To think public art should be a beauty contest that everyone agrees on renders the creativity and inspiration of the artist void.

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