Virgin Mary painting sparks outrage

A cropped version of Juan Davila’s ‘Holy Family’ painting (

An obscene painting of the Virgin Mary on public display at a Queensland university has sparked outrage from religious groups and leaders, who want it removed. Source: The Courier-Mail.

Artist Juan Davila’s painting Holy Family is on show at the Griffith University Art Museum until the end of the month, in a rare public airing of the lewd piece, which is usually housed in a Brisbane art collector’s home. Davila is a Chilean Australian in his 70s and known for confronting erotic art.

The Holy Family artwork is crudely based on Michelangelo’s sculpture The Pieta.

Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge said that it was “disappointing” the piece was included in an exhibition, titled The Abyss, at one of Queensland’s biggest universities, which received almost $300 million in government grants and funding last year.

Australian Christian Lobby Queensland director Wendy Francis said: “No one denies that we all have different views of what is acceptable or not in art. It can be explicit and challenging, but an image such as this, which humiliates and defiles one of the most famous women in history, does not belong in a public university.”

Archbishop Coleridge was disappointed Griffith University would showcase a work such as Holy Family.

“I continue to hope that Griffith University’s Art Museum would choose to show the work of Queensland’s many brilliant artists rather than display a work that sets out to shock as this one does,” he said. “So much more and better is on offer.”

Senator Matt Canavan, a devout Catholic, said it appeared to be a failed attempt to shock people.

“I know they’re trying to be edgy, but they’re about two decades too late. It’s all pretty ho-hum and sad,” he said. “If they really want to shock the modern eye, I suggest they display a painting of the actual Crucifixion.”

Griffith University Art Museum director Angela Goddard defended the work.

“The role of art is to challenge and push boundaries, with the freedom of artistic expression central to that mission,” Ms Goddard said.


Virgin Mary painting ‘Holy Family’ sparks outrage (The Courier-Mail)

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