More than 26,000 people have signed a petition calling for sacking of the Culture Minister of Buenos Aires, Enrique Avogadro, for participating in a ‘blasphemous’ Jesus cake caper at an exhibition of modern art.
The petition (in Spanish) said Avogadro, pictured centre at the exhibition, had committed:
A grave offence against the Catholic religion, a religion professed by most Argentines, by participating in the Argentine Contemporary Art Fair and eating a cake in the shape of the body of Jesus Christ.
A person who seriously offends the beliefs of a large part of the citizens he represents can not exercise public office, let alone hold the position of Minister of Culture.
The petition also wants the organisers of the arts fair to be censured for publicly offending the Catholic religion.
According to this report, Avogadro apologised after a video, showing him laughing as a man prepares to cut the cake, went viral on Monday, with thousands expressing rage and dismay on social media.
In the images seen on the video, shared through Facebook and Twitter, the government official is seen sampling the cake, which was created by two Argentine artists. Their exhibits include a “Byzantine icon” representing Jesus as one of the Thundercats cartoons, and sheep plush toys with the heads of Jesus and Judas, the latter being the “black sheep”.
The artists claim they were attempting to capture Christian iconography as if it were created by millennials, who would, as kids, represent Christ’s body and blood in their own way: eating a cake and drinking hot chocolate, which becomes their Mass and their sacrament.
Christianity through the eyes of millennials when they were children, the artists said, leads them:
To invite you to have fun, to feel joyfully, to think in colours, to create other rites.
Avogadro went to Facebook to say that he:
Sincerely regrets if someone felt offended in their most intimate beliefs.
He said that the images had been taken in the context of a private show of contemporary art.
As a person, I have a very clear opinion in favour of freedom of expression, particularly when it’s related to issues that question us, that make us reflect or that oppose our own convictions.
I also believe that the place of art is precisely to make us uncomfortable and to shake us. I understand, on the other hand, that public employees have a role that transcends what’s personal, and as such, we’re responsible for our actions. For this same reason, I want to apologise.