The Australian Christian Lobby has called on Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman to withdraw taxpayer support of an art event, described as a "bloody, sacrificial ritual", being held as part of a Hobart-based arts festival.
The three hour '150 Action' show, directed by Hermann Nitsch, is being held on 17th June at Macquarie Point as part of the Dark Mofo festival which is produced by Hobart's Museum of Old and New Art (MONA). The event, which carries the warning that it contains "distressing imagery, nudity and strong adult themes", has already sparked opposition from Hobart Lord Mayor Sue Hickey and Federal MP Andrew Wilkie as well as animal rights groups.
Mark Brown, ACL's Tasmanian director, says the production "is an affront to civil and decent society" and "a debased occultist ritual clothed in the guise of art".
“As the Lord Mayor pointed out, many religious people would especially find this imagery highly offensive," he said in a statement. “Drinking blood, mock crucifixions, naked bodies oozing blood out of their genitalia and frenzied 'disciples' cavorting in blood, semen and guts while church bells chime in the background – who in their right mind would think this is acceptable in a modern civil society?
Mr Brown said that if MONA wished to put on such shows, "they should do so with without State Government partnership and taxpayers’ money". He said it was disappointing to hear Premier Hodgman say the State Government was partnering with MONA because of the "extraordinary" economic returns it brings to the state.
“Most Tasmanians would agree that just because something may support the economy it doesn’t mean it should happen,” he said. “As Tourism Minister and Premier, is this really how Mr Hodgman would want our beautiful state to be known and remembered by tourists?”
More than 16,000 people have signed a petition calling on Hobart City Council to intervene and cancel the event.