A Star Wars stormtrooper has been crucified and currently hangs in a historic church, causing mixed reactions among churchgoers. According to the Daily Mail, the life-sized stormtrooper display was unveiled on Tuesday to represent the “fight against the dark side.”
The crucified Star Wars stormtrooper was erected as part of an art display, called Art Below, in a Central London church. The creator of the statue, Ryan Callanan, apparently constructed the controversial display as a way to raise awareness for the disappearance of the brother of the event’s organizer, Ben Moore.
The Telegraph reported on Tuesday that a priest actually had to come into the St. Stephen Walbrook church in London to decide whether to keep the crucified stormtrooper as part of the art display. Some parishioners apparently complained that the crucified stormtrooper was offensive to the Christian religion.
However, supporters of the “piece of art,” that’s part of the “Stations of the Cross” exhibition, say they didn’t find the crucified stormtrooper statue offensive but did call it an “unusual” piece of art. One supporter, a nun who doesn’t wish to be identified, simply said that the display is “not my taste,” but also not offensive.
Reverend Jonathan Evens, with the church, said that the art exhibit itself is supposed to be thought-provoking. Evens goes on to say that the displays show the artists themselves “grappling with their response” to Christ’s crucifixion. A report on the Sun shares that the crucified stormtrooper, that’s valued at over $16,000, raises the question about whether other races on other planets would also have an incarnated Christ that would “die for their salvation.”
According to Artnet News, the crucified Star Wars stormtrooper was supposed to be the centerpiece of the Art Below exhibit, but was, instead, moved to the back of the church from its more prominent position in the front of the church — a decision made by the priest. The report continues to clarify that the art exhibit doesn’t actually open to the public until Thursday and will now need a new centerpiece “at the church’s altar.”
Artnet News also reports that some church parishioners started to complain about the life-sized stormtrooper that is “crucified like Jesus” less than 24 hours after it was installed on Tuesday. Ben Moore, the event’s organizer, explained that he “didn’t intend to upset anyone” by having the crucified stormtrooper as part of the “Stations of the Cross” exhibit.
According to Moore, he continues to curate these “crucifixion-themed” exhibitions to support a fund set up for his missing brother Tom, who he hasn’t seen since 2003. Moore also noted that he plans to sell the crucified stormtrooper statue for 12,000 British pounds after the Art Below event.
Stormtroopers are well-known from the Star Wars movie franchise, dating all the way back to 1977. The stormtroopers are called the “the main ground force” under the leadership of Darth Vader from the “dark side.” Ben Moore says that he likes to think of the crucified stormtrooper as a “new hope,” much like the retitled Star Wars: Episode IV film.