BBC WS showcases ahistorical political art unchallenged

The August 28th edition of the BBC World Service radio programme ‘The Cultural Frontline’ included an interview (from 07:04 here) with British street artist Joy Gilleard. A specific edited segment of that interview was also separately promoted on Twitter. WS St Pauls clip 

“Street artist CBLOXX was commissioned to paint a mural for London’s St Paul’s Cathedral and she decided to paint the Virgin Mary as a Palestinian refugee. Little did she know it would end up being sent to the Queen.”

During the interview listeners heard Gilleard talking about the background to the painting:

“Some of the topics that I’m painting about are quite specific. So the very first one that I did was in St Paul’s Cathedral and they wanted me to do a painting of the Virgin Mary. So I decided that it would be a good idea to go and paint a Palestinian woman as the Virgin Mary – a refugee. It was just to show a different angle on something and it just seemed like a really nice link to the fact that there’s so many people fleeing Palestine, Syria…”

Given the fact that portrayal of Jesus as a Palestinian is one of the tactics long employed by anti-Israel campaigners attempting to negate and erase Jewish history, one might have thought that the programme’s presenter Sahar Zand would have taken the trouble to make listeners aware of the ahistorical politics behind the portrayal of the Virgin Mary as a Palestinian – if only for the sake of editorial standards of accuracy and impartiality.

However, the representative of a media organisation which earlier this year spent a significant amount of airtime discussing the alleged cultural appropriation of a pop star’s hair style, stayed silent.  

 

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