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Jesus as Ken and Mary as Barbie?

The planned relaunch of Jesus Ken and Barbie Virgin Mary dolls in Argentina is being criticized by Catholic groups and others.

This comes after the international success of Greta Gerwig’s controversial “Barbie” movie, starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, prompted the creators, local artists Emiliano Pool Paolini and Marianela Perelli, to reissue their contentious collection, according to “Christian Post.” The artists’ original “Barbie: The Plastic Religion” exhibit in 2014 received serious death threats for representing important religious figures, including Catholic saints and the Virgin Mary, as dolls

The previous exhibit drew ire worldwide criticism. Priest Adrian Santarelli from St. Thomas More parish in Buenos Aires at the time questioned the appropriateness of the dolls, saying their representation of sacred images might damage a child’s understanding of the sacred. It included Barbies depicted as Joan of Arc and Virgin of Guadalupe, among others, and Ken as Buddha and Moses. It notably avoided dolls representing Muslim figures because of Islamic prohibitions on such depictions.

In response to the controversy, the artists insist that the exhibit is purely artwork and not intended to cause offense. Paolini insists that the creations were “simply the union of the two most popular elements of history: the Barbie doll and religion.”

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jesus ken“Frankly, we don’t understand why we’re being attacked,” Paolini said. “Religion has always depicted virgins as the most beautiful women. Today, the most beautiful woman is Barbie.”

Despite these threats, at least one toy shop in Argentina reportedly has agreed to stock some models of the revived collection, with the artists planning to showcase their dolls in an art show in December The exhibit is expected to draw about 400 visitors, according to the organizers, with police presence to ensure security.

The artwork also has provoked anger from Hindus in the past. Rajan Zed, a Hindu cleric based in Nevada, criticized the “Barbie-fication of Kali” as inappropriate and out of place. However, Elina Aguilar, a retiree, and Hugo Fryszberg, an employee of the Buenos Aires government, defended the exhibit, noting that dolls of other religious figures have been sold without issue.

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice

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