Outcry over Dummy in Brady Painting

September 20, 2010

[with video]

A controversial painting of the Catholic Archbishop Cardinal Sean Brady wearing a child's dummy has caused controversy in Armagh where it is displayed as part of a public art exhibition.

The Up Your Street and In Your Face exhibition by artist Keith Drury is currently running at the town's Market Place.

It ranges from conventional oils of Irish cityscapes and portrait work to political and religious satire art.

The painting at the centre of the outcry shows the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland with a dummy around his neck, in place of the traditional Catholic cross.

Earlier this year, Cardinal Brady hit the headlines over revelations he was involved in an alleged cover-up of child sex abuse in the Catholic Church.

Cardinal Brady publicly apologised over revelations that he failed to alert police about a notorious paedophile priest in the 1970s.

"I can certainly see how a person might choose to take offence although what a person says about a painting often says more about them than it does about the actual painting itself", the artist told UTV.

Mr Drury says people can interpret the painting "in a variety of ways".

"Some people could interpret it as simply indicating the vulnerability of priests.

"A person could see the dummy as representing the vulnerability and inner-child of all people.

"Other people may see it as a reference to the child sex abuse scandal".

Other controversial and thought-provoking images include a painting of the wife of the Northern Ireland First minister, Iris Robinson, as impersonating Marilyn Monroe and an image of Ian Paisley Sr wearing a tricolour tie while Martin McGuiness displays a Union jack tie.

In a statement Armagh Council said it has received one complaint about the painting of Cardinal Brady but it cannot censor artworks displayed in its gallery spaces.

The exhibition runs until Saturday 25 September.


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