Dark Mofo to bring back controversial cross display, but they may not be inverted

Updated April 05, 2019 14:05:44

A controversial display of crosses will return as part of this year’s Dark Mofo festival in Tasmania, but organisers are considering reversing them so they do not appear in an inverted form.

Key points:

  • The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) last year installed large red crosses throughout the Hobart CBD during their winter Dark Mofo festival
  • The inverted crosses sparked controversy, with some Christian leaders calling them “highly offensive”
  • It’s understood MONA is considering turning the crosses up the right way ahead of announcing the festival’s line-up next week, but a final decision is yet to be made

During last year’s winter festival, several large red inverted crosses, also known as the Cross of Saint Peter, were featured in locations around Hobart’s waterfront and outside the Odeon theatre.

It prompted 1,500 people to sign up to a petition to have the crosses removed, with members of the public calling them “anti-Semitic” and “disrespectful”.

In a move welcomed by Christian leaders, it is understood organisers are considering reversing them.

In the Christian faith, the inverted cross is known as a symbol of the anti-Christ, and last year the Australian Christian Lobby called the upside- down crosses “highly offensive”.

Acting Tasmanian director of the Australian Christian Lobby Dan Flynn said that if Dark Mofo did decide to reverse the crosses, it would be “heartening”.

“I think it’s a very respectful move for them to do. The cross is very sacred to Christians and they’ve obviously heard that message last year,” he said.

“The cross should always be used respectfully … in many religions we honour the symbols and this is a deeply Christian symbol.”

Dangerous Thoughts to make a return

Dark Mofo’s full line-up is due to be announced next Friday, but some details have been released today.

Controversial artist Mike Parr is set to return, but this time his feet will be firmly fixed above the ground.

Last year the 73-year-old artist was buried alive under a busy Hobart CBD street in a steel container, in front of 3,000 onlookers.

This time around he will perform completely blindfolded in a secret location, speaking about the experience at Hobart’s Odeon Theatre the next day.

MONA will also unveil a new underground tunnel at its museum containing exhibitions from Ai Weiwei, Alfredo Jaar, Oliver Beer and Chris Townend.

Regular favourites including the Winter Feast will be back from June 14-16 and June 19-23, and swimmers can once again take the plunge during the Nude Solstice Swim on June 22.

Mofo’s popular Dark and Dangerous installation is also making a comeback, this year focussing on identity politics, which incorporates gender, sex, religion and class.

Dark and Dangerous Thoughts curator Laura Kroetsch said the program would explore the dangers of “angry white men” and issues surrounding multiculturalism.

She said the ideas incorporated in this year’s program would push the boundaries for people with differing politcal views.

“As with last year, we’re very careful to make sure all sides of the political spectrum are represented, and so we do have a focus on the soft right, which are very influential in the world,” she said.

“I think left-leaning people might find that a bit challenging.”

Topics: arts-and-entertainment, contemporary-art, events, community-and-society, popular-culture, tas, hobart-7000, launceston-7250

First posted April 05, 2019 10:23:24

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