Banksy artwork takes a swipe at church abuse

A new sculpture of a “vandalised” priest by the underground artist Banksy went public in Liverpool today.

The stone bust, named Cardinal Sin, has had its face carved off and replaced with small tiles giving a pixelated appearance.

The sculpture was unveiled at the Walker Art Gallery today and appears next to classic pieces from 17th century greats like Van Dyck and Poussin.

In a statement issued by the gallery on his behalf, the notoriously secretive artist said: “I love everything about the Walker Gallery – the Old Masters, the contemporary art, the rude girl in the café.

“And when I found out Mr Walker built it with beer money, it became my favourite gallery.

“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.”

The artwork is being interpreted by the gallery as a comment on the abuse scandal and cover-up in the Church.

Reyahn King, Director of Art Galleries at National Museums Liverpool, said: “We are thrilled to display the work of this major contemporary artist.

“It is a huge coup and we're sure his work will spark a reaction with visitors.

“Banksy specified that it be shown alongside our period collection and we were very happy to oblige.”