A copper sculpture titled In the Name of God was inaugurated on 1st December 2006, International AIDS Day in front of the cathedral of Copenhagen. The sculpture depicts a pregnant teenage girl in natural size crucified on a high cross. It is intended as a sculptural outcry, an artist’s comment to the crusade against contraception and sexual launched by Christian fundamentalists with President Bush and the Roman Catholic Pope in the lead. The exhibition was carried out in co-operation with Dean Anders Gadegaard and the parish council. The event ignited immediately a vivid debate in the press and on the Internet, see a collection of links at:
The sculpture set up in Copenhagen is the first in a series of similar sculptures to be displayed worldwide. It is not intended as a contribution to the abortion debate. The aim is to advocate for the right to contraception and to truthful and unprejudiced sexual education, a view that undoubtedly is shared by wide circles without regard to their stance on the abortion issue.
The sculpture depicts a crucified pregnant teenage girl in natural size. There will be various versions cast in copper. Some of the sculptures are naked – others are wearing clothes covering the intimate parts of the body, to avoid a futile dispute about nudity that in some countries might derail the debate. The sculpture can be displayed in different ways. It can be mounted on a cross or standing on tiptoe on a plinth. The height of the cross can vary according to the site of exhibition, from 2.5 to 5 metres.
The sculpture and the poster will be used in various contexts:
· The poster will be issued in big numbers (70,000) and distributed all over the world to relevant NGO-s that will be prompted to display them so that thousands of small art exhibitions will highlight the discussion. The print files are uploaded on our website. The press is invited to publish the poster.
You can constantly follow the state of events at:
You’ll find comprehensive documentation and plenty of links about the HIV/AIDS situation in the world at:
The art installation was launched on 1st December 2006, the international AIDS day in front of the Cathedral of Copenhagen. Afterwards it will be exhibited in Nairobi, London, Texas, and Italy.
We expect to be able to co-operate with the following:
The sculpture contains various layers of possible symbolic interpretations. Here are just some suggestions:
The cross is a very strong symbol, so I risk that the sculpture will provoke passionate reactions. Many people may be outraged and see it as blasphemous.
The sculpture is by no means intended as blasphemous. When a parallel is drawn from Jesus’ suffering on the cross to the suffering women of our time, we envisage a modern interpretation of the compassionate Jesus. His suffering and death on the cross was an expression of endless compassion and solidarity with man. Jesus himself makes a junction between man’s suffering and his own through the statement “I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25,40). The quotation spurs us to take the compassionate Jesus seriously in a modern context. This is exactly what the sculpture is doing in the form of living symbolism, expressing compassion with those suffering.
Should it not be allowed, through the symbolic language of art, to show the crucified Jesus taking the side of the present day’s suffering and oppressed people, then the narrative of the Gospel will at best be reduced to barren ceremony void of connection to the world we live in – at worst it will be instrumentalized to legitimate a policy causing suffering and death to millions of people. In fact, I think that this abuse of God and the Bible deserves the designation ‘blasphemous’.
This art manifestation is aimed at a religious interpretation causing increased suffering and hardships to the world’s most vulnerable people, not at Christianity as such. The artist appreciates co-operation with Christian groups that take the Christian claim for charity seriously, and accordingly take the side of those suffering. Such an attitude is a prolongation of a Christian tradition practiced throughout history, displaying a commitment for help and relief. A hasty search in church history will reveal a multitude of monasteries and hospitals, connected to the Catholic Church or other Churches, displaying readiness to help the sick and poor, when all others failed.
On more than one occasion Jens Galschiot has carried out projects in co-operation with Christian groups both in Denmark and abroad.
Recently the fundamentalists, with President Bush and the Roman Catholic Pope in the lead, have usurped still more influence on the discussion about AIDS and contraception. The disastrous consequence has been the withdrawal of funds from the contraception programs carried out by the UN an NGO-s all around the world. The fundamentalists assert that handing out condoms and giving information on contraception is instigation to promiscuity. Instead they claim that people should be taught not to have sex before marriage, and when married only for the purpose of procreation.
This policy has entailed disasters where it has been introduced. For ten years Uganda succeeded to reduce the spread of HIV contamination through massive campaigns to use condoms and to limit the number of sexual partners. At the same time condoms were handed out for free. As a result the rate of contamination decreased from 15% of the population in 1990 to 5% in 2001. But in 2002 Uganda changes its policy: compelled by the US President the condoms were removed from the campaign, and sexual abstinence was extolled as the only means to fight the HIV contamination. The result has been the doubling of new contaminations each year from 70,000 in 2003 to 130,000 in 2005.
As a result of the implementation of the same policy, Texas is one of the states with the highest per capita number of HIV contaminated in the USA and the highest number of teenage pregnancies.
Brief presentation of the artist
Jens Galschiot, Denmark, born 1954, sculptor. He stakes his art to defend the ethical values of our society, regardless of political, religious or economic interests. His sculptures suddenly appear in public areas and start the performance. Best known are My Inner Beast (European cities in 1993) and the Pillar of Shame (Hong Kong, Mexico and Brazil).
The projects are financed through the sale of Galschiot's bronze sculptures to art collectors all over the world. He has a huge industrial area in Odense, Denmark with a bronze foundry, gallery and workshop. Photos of all Jens Galschiot's sculptures: http://sculptures.aidoh.dk
Tel.: (+45) 6618 4058 - Fax: (+45) 6618 4158
E-mail: email@example.com - Internet: www.aidoh.dk
Printed 03 January 2007