Banksy’s new piece entitled “Cardinal Sin” has been loaned indefinitely to Liverpool’s Walker Art Gallery. The piece was exhibited this Thursday, specifically in time for the Holidays. “Cardinal Sin” is a replica of an 18th century stone bust of a cardinal. The bust has had its face sawn off and replaced with tiles that mimic the pixilation effect used on television to conceal criminals.
Banksy released a statement about the piece “At this time of year it’s easy to forget the true meaning of Christianity – the lies, the corruption, the abuse,” alluding to the fact that some priests hide behind the cloak of uniformity, and abuse the trust and faith in religion.
The piece is displayed amongst classic 17th century artists in the museum’s historic collection. Without notice, one could easily miss the bust as it blends in amongst the rest. This seemingly subtle visual protest forces onlookers to reflect on the sex scandals that have swept the Catholic Church in the recent years.
The title “Cardinal Sin” references the 7 deadly sins, a classification of objectionable vices that have been used since early Christian times to educate and instruct followers concerning fallen humanity’s tendency to sin (wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy and gluttony). Perhaps the anonymity of the statue forces the onlooker to reflect upon his own weaknesses in time to bring about rebirth in the New Year.