If you think that Theo Van Gogh and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Lars Vilks, Lars Hedegaard and Charlie Hebdo rattled the hornet’s nest, here’s yet another, a Muslim who pushes the envelope even more.
French-Moroccan Artist Mehdi-Georges Lahlou Dons Heels to Stir Religious Debate
BRUSSELS — The 29-year-old French-Moroccan artist Mehdi-Georges Lahlou has had an eventful early career. A piece in which he projected Bible and Koran verses onto his naked body caused a scandal in Morocco without even being shown in the country (shortly before the artist’s other works were displayed at the 2011 Marrakech Art Fair, local media voiced outrage over the piece, illustrating articles with images of only the Koranic part of the 2010 diptych, “Koranic Inlay”).
And his installation “Cocktail or Self-Portrait in Society,” in which Lahlou’s oft-worn red high heels stand on a prayer rug, also caused some outrage.
The two works hit on several sensitive issues in Muslim culture: the prohibition on modifying one’s body, nudity, sexuality, and improper use of the Koran and religious objects. Today, the artist thinks that if he had omitted the holy verses from his penis, the controversy might have been a minor one. “Even in Morocco, many people wanted me to come back after the controversy. I’ve kept a bit of distance for now, because I don’t think I should add fuel to the fire. My thinking about my work has been a bit affected, but I’m not throwing in the towel. I’m picking it up again in a different way.”