Some may find art offensive

Re:  Hospital Celebration set for Feb. 18, Chilliwack Progress, Feb. 8.

While I and many others applaud the recent Chilliwack General Hospital Emergency Room renovations, I really have to wonder why they have decided to commission aboriginal artwork by local artists and include them in these public facilities. No one will deny, least of all our community’s aboriginal folk, that these artworks are of a spiritual nature and embody or represent spirits in the local aboriginal tradition.

I would like to point out that many conservative people of the three great monotheistic faiths (Jews, Christians and Moslems), and possibly others such as Sikhs and atheists might find such public depictions not only deeply disturbing but also against the tenets of their belief system — for example:

• “4 You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth” (the Second Commandment in Exodus 20), and

• “O you who believe, intoxicants, and gambling, and the altars of idols, and the games of chance are abominations of the devil; you shall avoid them, that you may succeed.” (Quran 5:90)

Some of these people might even go so far as to avoid coming in to the ER in order to keep from “sinning” by avoiding them. I really wonder if this choice was thoroughly thought through. Consider the uproar that would have occurred had religious artwork of a Christian nature been chosen instead.

What makes aboriginal spiritual art, no matter how beautiful or original, more acceptable? Presumably these commissions are being paid for from money donated by members of all faiths who trusted that the full amount of their donation would go directly toward the ER facility upgrade. I hope it is not too late to change someone’s mind on this one.

Sandy Van Eysinga

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