Artistic works evolving around religion

DORIKA Ndaifulila is arguably among the most celebrated Zambians at the moment. Perhaps known for her seductive behaviour, the elegant lady is on record to have dated former national team coach Herve Renard and some prominent politicians.
Dorika recently joined a named Christian women’s fellowship; a move that has incised some Christian faith.
But Dorika does not exist in the real world; she is only a character that virtually appears on stage.
And three weeks ago, Dorika was on stage as usual. What was perhaps unusual was that she was clad in a red top with a large white collar and a black skirt, complete with a white headdress and told her fans that she had parted with her old ways.
However, it has come to light that the attire Dorika adorned is sacred. Well, according to some church organisation, that has since asked for a public apology from Bob Nkosha, the man behind the diva, Dorika.
When I learnt of the faith organisation that complained about Dorika’s attire and her joining a women’s fellowship, I thought it would be more appropriate for Dorika herself to offer an apology if she cared.
And then I was reminded of other thought-provoking artistic works that evolve around religion and their purported sacred emblems.
The classic examples are the works of American artist Andres Serrano, dubbed “Piss Christ”, a photograph of a crucifix completely submerged in a glass of the artist’s urine.
Another is the depiction of a black Virgin Mary, surrounded by a collage of nude images from porno magazines by Nigerian artist Chris Ofili.
And do you remember the depicting of Prophet Mohammed as a terrorist complete with a bomb by Danish newspaper Jyllands Posten?
It was one cartoon which led to protests around the Muslim community and ignited debates about the limits of freedom of expression in Denmark.
Well, critics of the cartoon saw it as blasphemy to Islam while its supporters viewed it as a legitimate artwork.
Back home, Dorika is alleged to have brought some sacred attire into disrepute.
It is an interesting episode on the Zambia art scene. The issue of Dorika’s use of alleged sacred attire brings into play the application of artistic and dramatic licences that allow for distortion and dramatising of real-world occupations.
Perhaps the question that may be asked is the relevance of such artistic expression in society.
In any case, religions and art have mutually co-existed since the pre-historic era. The arts have religiously been applied to inspire and drive man to spiritual gratification.
And at Lusaka Playhouse, it appeared Dorika just managed to inspire her fans with her life-changing testimony.
For comments write: artyak@rocketmail.com


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