Banksy, from my current hometown of Bristol, has unveiled another controversial piece of work aptly named “Cardinal Sin”. Banksy called it a Christmas present, saying
“The statue? I guess you could call it a Christmas present. At this time of year it’s easy to forget the true meaning of Christianity – the lies, the corruption, the abuse.”
With the priest’s face sawn off and replaced by small tiles it clearly evokes the image of a criminal’s pixellated face you often see in the news, and highlights that these religious reprobates are indeed criminals and not role models.
The sculpture has been loaned indefinitely to the gallery and it is on show in a room filled with classic paintings, many of them on religious subjects like the Holy Family.
Reyahn King, Director of Art Galleries at National Museums Liverpool, said: “It is my understanding that the artwork is a reference to the church and the recent abuse scandal.
What interests me about it is that when you look at it you see a portrait but its a portrait of someone who has their face hidden, so the artist is giving you a message about that person. We often have artworks that are controversial. Our Victorian sculpture of Tinted Venus was considered very controversial when it was first shown in 1862 so we don’t shy away, if we did we wouldn’t be an art gallery.
I think this is a particularly interesting piece by such a high-profile artist at this time of year, and applaud Banksy for his festive message.