The Kerala CPM’s latest foray into the world of art has ruffled the feathers of political commentators and art critics alike. And Christians are particularly upset — with good reason.
On Saturday morning, morphed posters — based on Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece The Last Supper — made an appearance at a few places on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram.
They depicted US president Barack Obama as Jesus Christ, surrounded by Congress and BJP stalwarts including Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Narendra Modi and LK Advani.
A line below the picture read, “This is the Last Supper of Capitalism… we hope in Marxism”.
The message, however, got somewhat garbled by another poster which made an appearance at an ongoing exhibition to mark the party state committee meet on Friday. It showed Jesus Christ in the company of Joseph Stalin and Che Guevara and carried a caption which read, “Christ is the biggest revolutionary in the world”.
“CPM has full respect for Jesus and we consider him as one of the greatest liberation fighters in the history of the world,” party secretary Pinarayi Vijayan had said.
The latest poster, however, left the CPM red-faced and was withdrawn promptly on Sunday morning. In the evening, Christian organisations held a protest and demanded an apology from the party.
“The posters show the party’s attitude towards believers. It has no right to hurt religious sentiments,” said Latin Archdiocese bishop Soosa Pakiam.
“The CPM has no right to hurt religious sentiments. It should withdraw the morphed painting immediately and tender an apology,” said chief minister Oommen Chandy.
The party has already done its best to distance itself from the posters, which were put up by its sister organisation All Kerala Construction Workers Union, affiliated to CITU.
Attributing the poster to artistic licence, party district secretary Kadakampally Surendran said, “We have nothing to do with it. We have already filed a complaint with the police.”
“People with vested interests are making this an issue. We have already given directions for the removal of these posters,” said Vijayan.