A Polish artist is decrying with a new show the Church’s incitement of “hatred” towards LGBT+ people.

Driving the news

As New Ways Ministry reports, gay Polish artist Daniel Rycharski was due to open Thursday at the Villa Arson in Nice, France, a new exhibit denouncing anti-LGBT+ discrimination on the part of members of the Church hierarchy.

Among the pieces Rycharski is to show is La goutte creuse la pierre, or Drops of water wear away the stone, a stone sculpture of the artist’s own head gradually being worn away by a steady drip of holy water.

The piece is designed to show the “slow and pernicious action of discrimination against those whose opinion or lifestyle differs from the teachings of the Polish Catholic Church”, as the Villa Arson website explains.

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Artist Rycharski, who at the age of 26 was the youngest person to win Poland’s prestigious Kulturysta Roku award, has long been denouncing in his artwork the Church marginalisation of LGBT+ people.

Other projects of his have included a depiction of a saint on a rainbow banner, a metal plaque with a quote from the Catechism urging respect for LGBT+ people, and a rosary of resin mixed with the blood of a gay Catholic friend.

Rycharski’s best-known work, however, is perhaps the sculpture “Fears”.

In that piece, the artist drew parallels between the suffering of LGBT+ people and the crucifixion of Jesus.

He did that by draping the colourful clothing of actual LGBT+ people on crosses adorned with barbed wire and placing the resulting crucifixes as scarecrows in the fields of his home town, Kurówek.

Why it matters

Rycharski was featured earlier this year in a solo show at the Warsaw Museum of Modern Art.

On its website, the Museum lauded the artist’s body of work, saying his “bold approach to faith and Christianity… has no equivalent in Polish art”.

The Museum further said that Rycharski “has shifted from a desire to organise a grass-roots revolution and achieve equal rights for LGBT+ individuals within the Church to the determination to practice his faith according to his own rules”.

Rycharski “takes a given set of concepts and values and pursues a new version of a liberation project that would embrace outcasts. It is a project he calls ‘Christianity without religion’”, the Museum website explained.

The artist has also been lauded in the New York Times, which celebrated his having “confidence to explore his gay identity in art…with crusading works that put the church’s rejection of gay Catholics in the spotlight”.

In July this year, in the context of anti-Gay Pride March violence in the Polish city of Bialystok, Rycharski explained his thinking and philosophy behind his artworks to the PBS News Hour:

“What is going on around the LGBT community appalls me, the fact that the governing party uses us as electoral fuel, because of the fact that the government works closely with the church, and the church is its authority.

“The Catholic Church’s teaching says it explicitly. You could say it has incited hatred against LGBT people”.

Next on Novena:

Polish Bishops turn blind eye to far-right march for country’s “Catholic identity”

Vocations plummet in Poland: 20% fewer in just one year


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