Christian crosses return for Tas festival

Upright giant red crosses have returned to Hobart's annual Dark Mofo winter festival.
Upright giant red crosses have returned to Hobart's annual Dark Mofo winter festival.

Controversial giant red Christian crosses have returned to Hobart's waterfront for the Dark Mofo winter festival.

But this time they're the right way up.

Inverted crosses were part of last year's event and copped criticism from the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) and the head of Tasmania's Anglican Church, who labelled the installations as "state-funded blasphemy".

"Last year we had symbols of humility ... that didn't seem to go down too well," Dark Mofo creative director Leigh Carmichael said on Wednesday.

He added the upright crosses tied into the festival's theme of rebirth, death and renewal which is linked to the winter solstice.

"The idea of putting up 20-metre high torture devices in the city seemed kind of appealing."

One cross has already been installed, with others to be put up in coming days.

The ACL is not a fan of the latest offering.

"To associate the cross - a symbol deeply sacred to Christianity - with an event that has satanic and pagan elements is deliberately disrespectful," Tasmanian director David Flynn said in a statement.

"A pluralistic and tolerant society should work on the principle of respecting religious diversity.

"Dark Mofo crosses a line by being needlessly provocative and offensive for the sake of publicity."

Mr Carmichael said the ACL is entitled to its view but don't understand the festival.

"Those that do attend see a lot of laughter and joy and happiness. At other times there's some pretty strong-themed art. We would like to think we're a mix."

More than 22,000 people last year signed an online petition calling for the inverted crosses to be taken down.

The inverted Cross of Saint Peter can be seen as a satanic symbol but also one of humility, as it is believed he requested to be crucified upside-down as a mark of respect to Jesus.

The first Dark Mofo event begins on Thursday with the festival to conclude on June 23, the weekend of the winter solstice.

Australian Associated Press