Hindus are upset over a new exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum that includes a 60-foot wall mural featuring an image of the highly revered deity Kali.
The goddess of destruction and rebirth, who has six arms, three legs and three breasts, is meant to be worshiped in temples or home shrines — not “thrown around loosely in reimagined versions for dramatic effects on museum walls,” prominent Hindu leader Rajan Zed said.
“Such absurd depiction of goddess Kali with no scriptural backing was hurtful to the devotees,” the director of interfaith relations at a Hindu temple in Nevada added.
The large-scale mural at the Brooklyn Museum is the brainchild of Chitra Ganesh, a Ditmas Park resident, who is originally from India.
Ganesh, 39, made the mural “of iterations of feminine power” with an amalgamation of random objects.
The museum did not return several calls and emails seeking comment, and Ganesh was not immediately available.
In a video describing the exhibit, Ganesh says her work “explores themes of femininity and multiplicity using inspiration from the collection of objects of the Brooklyn Museum.”
There are more than 150 prayer flags displayed above the mural designed to invoke institutions or temples, Ganesh said.
The flags each have a silkscreen image affixed on them and are made from her mother’s old saris and other materials from India.
This is not the first time Zed has been angered by the use of sacred Hindu symbols.
The vocal leader asked Urban Outfitters last December to yank socks with the image of Hindu deity Lord Ganesha.
He called the Philadelphia-based clothing store’s sock “inappropriate” and “disturbing.”
“Hindus were for free artistic expression and speech as much as anybody else if not more,” he said at the time.
“But faith was something sacred and attempts at trivializing it hurt the followers,” he added.
Last July, Zed also asked the store to pull a duvet cover with the picture of Lord Ganesha, to no avail.
In 2007, he made history as the first Hindu cleric to lead the U.S. Senate’s morning prayer after an invite from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
The invocation was vociferously opposed by several Christian groups.