Melbourne, Apr.8 (ANI): Sculptor Neil Mitchell's move to display his work "Naked Woman on Cross" in Melbourne ahead of Easter has sparked anger and accusations of mixed messages, reports the Herald Sun.
The 40,000 dollar artwork is being displayed at a Melbourne gallery at the holiest time of the year for Christians, and Mitchell said it was meant to portray women's suffering.
However, church leaders and art lovers have described it as a desecration of Christian beliefs.
St Michael's Uniting Church chief Minister Dr Francis McNab said Mitchell's message had backfired.
"I think it's supposed to say we have crucified women in society," Dr McNab said.
"But it's a shame he chose to sexualise it by the use of a young female. Older women had to suffer longer and much more.
"He takes our focus on to the sexual side of it more than the social commentary."
Living Way Church Pastor Lanil Gunasekara was outraged by the sculpture.
"It is a blasphemous insult to the image of Jesus Christ who was crucified on the cross," he said.
"There is something wrong with an artist who produces something so insulting to Christians."
New White Gallery owner Melanie Thornton said some visitors were dismayed at the aluminium and wood sculpture.
"It is very powerful because it is life-size and displayed on its own," she said.
Mitchell, known for his sculptures of sporting heroes, defended the work.
"It is the duty of an artist to question society's beliefs in religion and to test people about those beliefs, which this sculpture will do," he said.
"I've travelled through 35 countries and found down-trodden women in them all."
Mitchell's bronzes of Sir Don Bradman, John Landy and Ron Clarke are outside the MCG.
Dr McNab said he did not find the work offensive, "but I wouldn't go to see it". (ANI)