Church’s ‘Stations of the Cross’ exhibition sparks controversy

By Barry Duke

A church in London has been forced to move a life-size statue of a crucified Imperial Star Wars stormtrooper to less-prominent place after complaints from parishioners.

The artwork, according to Artnet News, was to be the centrepiece of a “Stations of the Cross” exhibition due to open tomorrow (Thursday) at London’s historic St Stephen Walbrook church.

“Crucified Stormtrooper”, by street artist Ryan Callanan, was originally placed near the altar by the organisers, Art Below. It is priced at £12,000.

A representative from the church said:

“[Crucified Stormtrooper] was larger and more prominent than was anticipated when the exhibition was approved. Its position in the church as currently installed has proved to be distracting for some worshippers. As a result, following discussions with the curator, we have asked Art Below to reposition the work, so that it remains prominent but it is less of a distraction from the altar.

Callanan showed a much smaller version of the work at The Picture Frame Gallery in 2014 and faced accusations of blasphemy. He said at the time:

It’s not making fun of any particular religion and certainly not Christianity.

Gallery owner Mark Belda, left, and artist Ryan Callanan

He claimed that the sculpture was commenting on the expendable nature of …read more

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