A controversial art exhibit depicting the Pope as a Nazi paedophile has been branded “offensive” and “distressing”.
• Sculpture of pope depicted as Nazi paedophile criticised for being provocative
• Artists says symbolism of work is based on fact
‘The Holy Truth’ is the title of the ‘abstract’ work by 70-year-old Dutch artist Jeff van Weereld which has been unveiled at the Eden Court Theatre in Inverness.
The sculpture, which lends the exhibition its name, is a three-and-a-half metre tall stylised image of the Pope in a state of sexual arousal with his hand firmly on the shoulder of two little boys.
The statue has also been decorated with a Swastika-style crucifix.
Critics claim the work resembles more a fridge-freezer than the leader of the Roman Catholic church.
Mr van Weereld said he wanted to call attention to the relatively high incidence of paedophilia in single sex institutions of such as the Catholic church.
He said: “There are four symbolisms in the sculpture, which are all based on fact - although some are dusted over by the church.
“There is high incidence of paedophilia, the pope did spend a good part of his formative years in the Hitlerjugend and the Wehrmacht, the church is friendly to the outside, but not necessarily within the hierarchy and they do tend to cover up things.”
Skye, Lochaber and Bade-noch MSP Dave Thompson said freedom of artistic expression and the right of people to have views was something to be valued.
But Mr Thompson added: “I think we have to be very careful we don’t use that to cross certain lines which could deliberately provoke people and insult them. And this sculpture appears to be particularly provocative and distressing.”
He said he thought the artist had misunderstood the Christian faith, which he said was about “loving others as we love ourselves”.
Mr Thompson said: “Although the installation is abstract, and it may not be obvious what it is supposed to depict, the sculptor’s explanation becomes part of the work of art.”