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Dark Mofo’s inverted crosses generate controversy

Dark Mofo’s inverted crosses generate controversy
June 9, 2018

The organisers of Tasmania's Dark Mofo festival have shrugged off criticism over their erection of a series of large neon red inverted crucifixes on Hobart’s waterfront as part of MONA’s midwinter music and arts festival.

The four 20-metre-tall inverted crosses have prompted an outcry from some Christian groups who said they were "inviting the devil" and were offensive.

MONA owner David Walsh defended the installations, stating he could say "about 50 things" as to why they are upside down.

Walsh told media yesterday “but why are they upside down? Firstly, St Peter was crucified upside down. Why? Because he didn’t want to be like Jesus. So maybe all the churches that have up the right way crosses are blasphemers.”

His comments echoed the perspective expressed on Friday morning on ABC radio by Dark Mofo’s Creative Director, Leigh Carmichael, who said provocation was “part of Mona’s DNA” and argued that while “the cross is deeply significant in our historical context ... symbols don’t have an inherent meaning. The meaning comes from what we bring to them.”

Later on Friday, Dark Mofo issued a formal statement from Carmichael on the inverted crucifixes, addng  “Dark Mofo has been exploring ancient mythology and religious themes since its inception in 2013. The cross is a powerful and deeply significant historical symbol, that has been used for thousands of years, with many cross-cultural meanings. For many, this symbol evokes an emotional response for reasons that we don’t fully understand. While we respect and understand different interpretations, we cannot be responsible for attitudes that people bring to the festival.”

Speaking to the media yesterday morning, Walsh responded to questions on the performance of Mona which, while a key attraction in drawing visitors to Tasmania, continues to lose money.

Walsh advised “the museum at the moment is not profitable, but it is not - and I say this with some certainty - it is not an act of philanthropy."

"If I could build this thing and entertain a few hundred thousand people a year and did something for the local economy, which admittedly I didn't intend, but it is a desirable side effect, that would be great.

"But what would be a damn sight greater would be to have other, richer more avaricious folks than me say ‘Oh he did that with his money, created a bit of a reputation and also he made some bucks'.

"Then these f***ing things would be built all over the world and then that would be damn cool."

Dark Mofo runs from 7th to 24th June.

The event is likely to again attract a large audience with figures showing a big jump in attendance last with more than 427,000 attendances recorded, up from 297,000 in 2016.

Images: Inverted crucifixes on Hobart’s waterfront as part of Tasmania's Dark Mofo festival (top) and Hobart’s waterfront during Dark Mofo 2014 (below). Courtesy of Dark Mofo festival/Facebook.

8th July 2017 - VISION UNVEILED FOR EXPANSION OF HOBART’S MONA 

24th June 2017 - DARK MOFO WELCOMES MASSIVE ATTENDANCE RISE

11th December 2016 - MONA REVEALS PLANS FOR RECONCILIATION ART PARK IN HOBART 

15th June 2016 - DARK MOFO OVERCOMES TICKET SCALPING ISSUE AND OPENS TO ACCLAIM

26th January 2016 - CULTURAL FIGURES AND PHILANTHROPISTS RECOGNISED IN AUSTRALIA DAY HONOURS

15th December 2015 - MONA FOUNDER REVEALS PLANS FOR CASINO AND HOTEL DEVELOPMENT 

18th August 2015 - LONELY PLANET NAMES THREE TASMANIAN DESTINATIONS IN ‘ULTIMATE TRAVEL LIST’ 

23rd August 2014 - TASMANIA LOOKS TO BOOST TOURISM IN ITS NATURAL AREAS 


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