Scandal has ensued in Romania after a series of drawings depicting doctors and medical staff as saints on advertising boards were condemned by the Orthodox church.
The artworks, which have gone viral online, blend Orthodox iconography with Japanese anime style and portray medics as Christian, Buddhist, and Hindu saints and deities.
Part of a wider initiative by an advertising agency, the works by Bucharest-based artist Wanda Hutira have scandalised many in Romania’s Christian Orthodox community. The PR office for the Romanian Patriarchy said the works were “blasphemous” and claimed they offended doctors. Some commentators on social media called them “satanist”.
Following the uproar of the Christian Orthodox community, the mayor of Bucharest, Gabriela Firea, asked for the works to be removed and replaced with “images that pay homage to doctor heroes without offending the faith of passers-by”.
The advertising agency followed the call by removing the Christian Orthodox-like drawings from the public space. They left the works depicting doctors as deities in other religious traditions untouched, however.
Hutira called the response “worrying” and says that she’s received messages of support and thanks from doctors. “One woman in Pantelimon told us she sees this everyday and it gives her courage to start again,” she told a local newspaper.