Star Wars stormtrooper in crucifix sculpture ‘blasphemy’ row in Gidea Park

16:00 21 August 2014

Gallery owner Mark Belda and artist Ryan Callanan with the Stormtroopers

Gallery owner Mark Belda and artist Ryan Callanan with the Stormtroopers


Stormtroopers usually need no defending when under the command of Star Wars villain Darth Vader.

But an artist has fended off criticism of his “blasphemous” sculpture depicting one of the Galactic Empire soldiers being crucified, which is displayed in the window of a Gidea Park gallery.

Devout Christian Sarah Jenkin reported The Picture Frame Gallery, Main Road, Gidea Park, to Trading Standards for the artwork made by Collier Row artist Ryan Callanan.

“It’s extremely blasphemous and offensive,” said Mrs Jenkin, 48, of Gidea Park. “Some people may find it funny but, as a Christian, I don’t.

“It’s time Christians stand up and say ‘no we are not putting up with this’. I’m not going to throw a brick through the window but I will speak up.”

Mr Callanan, whose artwork has been bought by the likes of Fatboy Slim and Russell Brand, said: “It’s not making fun of any particular religion and certainly not Christianity.”

The piece of work represents the sacrifice of the movie stormtroopers as “cannon fodder” for someone else’s cause, said Mr Callanan, who is also known as RYCA.

The avid Star Wars fan said that he isn’t offended by Mrs Jenkin’s criticism. “If it was [Star Wars film-maker] George Lucas having a go at me I would be more upset,” he said.

Gallery owner Mark Belda, who says he was raised as a Catholic, also defended the sculpture, which is priced at more than £300 and titled The Long Suffering Stormtrooper.

“I’ve got three customers who are priests and they all like it. I totally take on board what she’s saying, but it’s not got anything to do with religion,” said Mr Belder.

The gallery is opposite St Michael and All Angels Church but vicar Phil Weston did not want to comment.

Mrs Jenkin is awaiting a reply from Trading Standards.

Read more:

Romford pictures: Star Wars fans bring the force to Harold Hill

Star Wars convention day

Gidea Park artist exploring his relationship with God in new exhibition


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Romford Recorder visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Romford Recorder staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Romford Recorder account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest News Stories

Yesterday, 17:26
Education Secretary Nicky Morgan addresses the Conservative Party conference at Manchester Central. Picture Stefan Rousseau/PA Images

Parent power could see schools providing childcare for the whole working day and holidays if enough families request it.

Yesterday, 16:15
Rob Bull, pilot killed in the Chigwell air crash

The operators of a plane which crashed in Chigwell killing the two pilots on board have paid tribute to the pair in a heartfelt statement.

Yesterday, 12:21
Adesina was stabbed in Padbury Court, Bethnal Green

Stabbed teenager Joel Adesina spent his final hours in a weaponised gang wearing face coverings and fleeing at least one man with a knife, the Old Bailey heard.

Yesterday, 10:32
Straight Road, Romford

A man in his 40s was stabbed in Straight Road, Romford, last night.

Yesterday, 10:00
Cllr Ross Hatfull says Redbridge Council will ask people to move out of the borough so they do not become homeless, such is the extent of the housing crisis. Photo: Ian West/PA Archive/PA Images

Havering Council has the lowest acceptance rate of homelessness of any London borough.

Yesterday, 07:15
Train passing level crossing

A victim of sexual assault who was “shaken” by an incident on a train is calling for more action in deterring sexual offences on public transport following TfL’s announcement of a 32per cent increase in London.

Thu, 16:16
Robert Bull, the pilot killed after his plane crashed in Gravel Lane, Chigwell

Tributes have been paid to a Hornchurch pilot tragically killed alongside his colleague when their plane crashed into a field and burst into flames.

Thu, 07:37
Havering Council has halted the demolition of the Mecca Bingo hall in Hornchurch

A dramatic turn of events has seen the demolition of the Mecca Bingo hall in Hornchurch halted by Havering Council.

Most read news

News from your area


Click on the banner above for full coverage of the centenary commemorations of the outbreak of the First World War.


You'll be stocked up on toiletries  for a while!

Cosmetics, toiletries, vitamins and more.

You could be splashing the cash at Topshop!

Just imagine what you could do with £1,000 to spend at Topshop.

Digital Edition

Read the Romford Recorder e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder