On 21 October 2017, a group of protesters, who led chants against secularism, attempted to destory a sculpture by artist Ron Mueck and shut down the “Doors Open to Those Who Knock” exhibition held in Istanbul’s Abdülmecid Efendi Köşkü where it was on display, reported Hurriyet daily news.
The sculpture – The Man Beneath the Sweater – features a nude man crouching on the ground holding a cardigan over himself and was placed in an old tiled fireplace at the venue. The protesters took the fireplace as a religious setting, mistaking it for wither a minbar, where an imam stands during sermons in mosques, or a mihrab, a mosque’s semicircular niche that faces Mecca, reported artnet News.
The protesters claimed that the sculpture violated their religious freedom and promoted secularism. They attempted to destroy it, after pushing a security guard to the floor, chanting against secularism, and vowing to prevent such works being displayed. Other security guards intervened and escorted them from the gallery space.