Many in the Christian community have taken offence to the installation at Hobart’s waterfront. (Supplied: Aaron Horsley )
Christians fear the organisers of Dark Mofo are inviting dark forces to Hobart by displaying inverted crosses around the city.
As part of the city’s annual winter festival, several large red crosses, known as the Cross of Saint Peter, have been erected in prominent positions around the waterfront.
Inverted crosses are also used as a symbol of the anti-Christ and many in the Christian community have expressed offence at the 20-metre-high art installations.
Other Christian leaders have called for calm, while many residents have taken delight in photographing the bright crosses.
The Dark Mofo festival is renowned for turning heads and creating controversy and last year involved a bloody sacrificial ritual using a bull.
Mark Brown, Tasmanian director of the Australian Christian Lobby, said the signs were “highly offensive” to Christians because of the occult themes in Dark Mofo.
“The cross is a very important symbol,” he said.
“What are we inviting in with these sort of symbols and the cult focus of these events?
“In the words of Jesus, the devil only comes to kill, steal and to destroy; my question is, is that something Hobartians really want?”
Mr Brown called on Christians to speak out about the art.
“We’re dealing with spiritual forces here. I don’t think those involved with this event, David Walsh and Leigh Carmichael, would disagree with the spiritual realm being a real thing.”
He said his own experience with the occult resulted in fear, anxiety and torment.
“I don’t think those are things most people would want to invite in willingly or unwillingly.”
Hobart pastor Kim Valentine said he was “offended but not scared”.
He said there were other Christian links in this year’s festival, such as artist Mike Parr burying himself under the road.
“There are many things about MONA that have a veiled joke at Christianity; another is the guy being buried under Macquarie Street and being resurrected three days later,” Mr Valentine said.
“There’s also a positive twist to this. Tradition says Saint Peter was crucified on an upside-down cross and it’s a sign, in that respect, of humility.
“I wonder why Islam is not ridiculed in the same way?”
Pastor calls for calm
University of Tasmania Fellowship of Christians campus director Mike Lynch said people needed to “chill out”.
He said the installation of the crosses was “a bit boring”.
“Being buried under the road is a bit like a Jackass episode, and hanging a cross upside down is like a Grade 12 art installation, so just chill out.
“My immediate reaction was a bit of an eye roll — here we go, a shock jock statement that gets Christians grumpy.
“It’s a religious symbol and so for some people it is precious, so of course people are going to find that hurtful.
“For Christians, the cross is a symbol of shame and it’s about God taking on shame for the salvation of the word, so there’s a weird irony in getting offended by a symbol which in itself is offensive.”
The final cross is being installed today.
Creators Christian Wagstaff and Keith Courtney from CPS Productions are expected to speak about the art in coming days.
The organisers of Dark Mofo have been contacted for comment.