Star Wars art installation removed from church following complaints


A stormtrooper sits on the cross at St Stephen Walbrook church
RYCA and Art Below

Christianity has been the inspiration behind countless pieces of art throughout history. But one more recent example is a whole world away from Da Vinci’s The Last Supper.A life-size model of an imperial Stormtrooper from the original 1977 Star Wars film sits on the cross for the centrepiece of Art Below’s Stations of the Cross exhibition. Located at St Stephen Walbrook church, this is a work by Ryan Callahan, a street artist who goes under the name RYCA, and has provoked outrage from many parishioners. Organisers are being made to remove the statue at 4pm today following complaints, even with the exhibition not being fully opened until Thursday. There are also questions over whether other works from the exhibition, including works featuring nudity by Francis Bacon, Paul Benney and Ricardo Cinalli, are appropriate for display.For all the exhibition’s controversy, curator Ben Moore’s heart is in the right place. It was set up to raise awareness towards finding his brother Tom, who has been missing since 2003. Another aim of the exhibition, says Revd Jonathan Evens, was to inspire debate. “This is an exhibition of images designed to provoke thought from artists grappling with their response to the challenge and scandal of Christ’s cross. I commend these images to you as an image that can open our ideas and minds to new reflections on the eternal significance.”This is the third Stations of the Cross exhibition following events at St Marylebone Parish Church in 2014 and 2015, the latter of which featured a life-size body cast of English musician Pete Doherty. The 2018 edition is the first exhibition at the new venue of St Stephen Walbrook church. It remains to be seen if the exhibition will be invited back to the same church for 2019.
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