Transport for London has deemed a contemporary piece of art depicting Jesus before his crucifixion inappropriate out of fear that it would cause offence.
Artist Antony Micallef described decision not to display his work ‘Kill Your Idol’ on London tube station billboards as censorship. A spokesperson for Transport for London said the poster was rejected because it did not comply with the firm’s advertising policy.
The art piece was meant to run alongside over twenty interpretations of Christ’s final days on earth.
Antony Micallef depicts Jesus standing before an X Factor-style panel of judges wearing a crown of thorns, and a sign reads “Kill Your Idol”. He wrote on his Facebook page, www.facebook.com/antonymicallef:
“Censored by the London Underground.
This painting was made as a commission to be in involved in a project called the 14 Stations of the Cross. An exhibition existing of 14 artists commissioned to make artwork to be displayed on 14 billboards on London’s underground stations. Each artist would depict his or her own contemporary translation of the 14 stages of the cross.
I decided to pick the first stage where Jesus Christ is condemned to death. The finished piece was ready to be displayed on a billboard and have pride and place at London Oxford Circus. One of the busiest and most commercial tube stops in London. To my dismay I found out at the last minute the London Underground have decided to pull the piece from the show apparently because of the title ‘Kill your idol’ in the middle of the panel in the painting. I offered to manipulate it in such a way that it would read something different or just edit it out completely as I think the painting gets it message across without it anyway. They categorically said no to my request and thus my piece will not be included in the show. I can’t help but to feel deeply disappointed and let down by this act of censorship and just feel they took the easy way out of fear of creating controversy to what I feel is a valid message in society today.
I don’t normally ask this as I don’t like people asking me but would ask people to share this. The real piece of artwork can be viewed at St Marylebone Parish Church NW1 5LT in London until the 17th April 2014 but I’m annoyed the general public won’t be able to view this in such a public way.”