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State of the art

Oliver Tomkins

An art exhibition, entitled 'Barbie: The Plastic Religion', has sparked outrage among Argentinian Catholics. The artists Emiliano Pool Paolini and Marianela Perelli have made a collection of Barbies and Kens dressed to represent saints and deities from a variety of religions.

The dolls range from Barbie in the blue of the Virgin Mary to a plastic Buddha to, most controversially, a Ken Jesus.

This isn't the first time that this parade of Mattel has received this kind of attention. The exhibit was originally scheduled for last year, but due to protests from rightwing activists led to its cancellation. 'Last year we got a lot of threats regarding the destruction of our art, about bombs, threats against our safety,' Perelli says.

The threats haven't caused Perelli and Paolini to back down. 'We have not changed anything. In fact, we still have Crucified Ken,' referring to the most 'outrageous' of the toys. The exhibit was never intended to offend anyone. 'We are religious and spiritual people," Perelli says, 'and we did this work out of love and respect... If there is a babysitter Barbie, and a lion tamer and even an astronaut, why can't there be Virgin Mary Barbie?'

Every doll is for sale and the exhibition is on until the end of November.