Banksy's mutilated priest head revealed in Walker Art Gallery coup

By Culture24 Reporter | 15 December 2011
A photo of a white statue of a priest with his head replaced by bathroom panels
The Walker Art Gallery has committed the Cardinal Sin to the Old Master galleries© Mark McNulty
Among the church alterpieces and religious sculpture lining the 17th century enclaves of the Old Master galleries at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool, the addition of a politically-charged Banksy bastardisation seems a breathtakingly brave move.

Believed by planners to be a comment on the "abuse scandal" in the church, this time everyone's favourite anonymous crusader has sawn off the face of an 18th century replica stone bust of a priest, then glued on a selection of bathroom tiles to create the resemblance of a pixellated portrait.

The Bristol artist's pointed and concise accompanying commentary – "I'm never sure who deserves to be put on a pedestal or crushed under one" – suggests he might not be grabbing a pew during this month's festivities. The piece is titled Cardinal Sin, and is on indefinite loan to the internationally-respected gallery.

"Banksy specified that it be shown alongside our period collection and we were very happy to oblige," says a "thrilled" Reyahn King, the Director of Art Galleries at National Museums Liverpool.

"It is a huge coup and we're sure his work will spark a reaction with visitors."
More on the venues and organisations we've mentioned:
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