An art exhibit featuring 33 Barbie and Ken dolls as religious figures — including a crucified Jesus Christ and a Virgin Mary — is sparking controversy in Argentina’s capital.
Dolls dubbed “Barbie Virgin Mary” and “Jesus Ken” have appeared in a toy shop in Buenos Aires.
“Barbie, The Plastic Religion” – has infuriated religious organisations 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 tole USA today.
“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.
Created by local artists Emiliano Pool Paolini and Marianela Perelli, the religious-themed products (which have no connection or affiliation with the original Barbie doll created by Mattel), have resulted in threats from all over the world after photos of them were posted online.
The Barbies have appeared in at least one toy shop.
The couple even gave a doll to the Pope; Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Barbie.
“Frankly, we don’t understand why we’re being attacked,” Paolini — or “Pool” as he’s known — told Jam Press.
Among others, Barbie is depicted as Joan of Arc, Virgin of Guadalupe — Mexico’s patron saint — and Mary Magdalene, with a low-cut dress. Ken is shown as Buddha and Moses. The art collection also showcases Jewish and pagan mythical figures.
About 400 people are expected to visit the gallery while the exhibit is on display, organisers said. Police were on hand Saturday for the unveiling of the dolls and will remain present throughout the exhibit.
The dolls retail for – on average – £587 ($750)
Many have taken to social media describing the Barbies as blasphemous.
“Seeking fame in an infamous way, what a disappointment,” another user wrote, with another writing the artists should: “Respect the Sacred faith!”
(Picture Courtesy: Jam Press)