Morality messages or art as shock?

I don’t usually deviate from my usual blog post style of posting lots of lovely photos and creating a visual diary of my travels, more for my own memory aid then anything else to be honest!

But I spotted an article today on that bastion of journalistic prowess – the Daily Mail – about a tourist who was offended and shocked by one of the murals at Wat Rong Khun, the gorgeous white temple in Chiang Rai .

This intrigued me as I have very recently visited the temple and was enchanted by it. While the exterior of the temple is a spun sugar confectionery of whimsical whiteness and shiny mirrors, the inner temple is a riot of colour, depictions of demons and hell and unusual modern imagery.

Photos are forbidden inside the temple however (gahh!)  which I why I have none to post. But many others were not so considerate and you can find lots of pictures online.

The murals feature a wide range of disparate subject matter ranging from superman and the villain from the Saw movies to the striking and emotive image of the trade towers being hit by a plane on 9/11.

What has this to do with Buddhism you may well ask? Some say it is a reminder that superheroes can’t save you, only the supreme love of Buddha, others speculate it is a warning against the evils of materialism and sensualism.

Whatever the actual meaning that architect Chalermchai Kositpipat meant his paintings to convey, it certainly divides opinion and sparks debate.

You can read the whole article below (although when I say article, I actually mean – one angry quote from an unnamed Nottingham bloke and then some words that the Mail just lifted straight off a blog and published – epic journalism skills there – no really I do mean it! )

Daily Mail – Tourist offended by murals 

What are your thoughts? Are you offended by the use of the trade towers? Do you feel that Kositpipat is right to appropriate this tragedy for his own ends?

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