A Catholic school in Australia has unveiled its replacement for a statue which was ridiculed for being suggestive and obscene.
In 2017 Blackfriars Priory School, in Adelaide’s inner northern suburbs, revealed a statue which was intended to be a depiction of the work of St Martin de Porres ‘for the poor and downtrodden of the 16th Century.’
It had been created in Vietnam by a sculptor who had previously created another of the school’s statues, but it seems the artist overlooked certain issues with their second contribution to the establishment.
The statue was unveiled, showing the saint holding a loaf of bread out in the direction of a small child, who was holding their hand out and looking up at the man. I think you might be able to see where this is going, but just to clarify, the loaf of bread was located around groin-level.
Photos of the suggestive sculpture soon appeared on the shitadelaide Instagram page and went viral, after which the school covered it up before having it removed altogether.
Check out the statue here:
At the time the school addressed the unfortunate situation on Facebook, writing:
The two-dimensional concept plans for the statue were viewed and approved by the Executive Team in May but upon arrival the three-dimensional statue was deemed by the Executive to be potentially suggestive.
As a consequence, the statue was immediately covered and a local sculptor has been commissioned to re-design it. The School apologises for any concerns and publicity generated by this matter and is taking action to substantially alter the statue.
The school eventually decided to ditch the depiction of St Martin de Porres altogether, and it has since been replaced with a park bench and a cluster of fibreglass animals including a wombat, kookaburra, koala and labrador.
Principal Simon Cobiac told Daily Mail Australia they moved away from their original idea after extensive consultation within the school community.
Although the new artwork doesn’t directly portray the saint, it is still a tribute to him as Cobiac explained St Martin had dedicated his life to the caring of both children and animals.
I am pleased to report that the children are delighted with the bench and animal additions to this play area and we believe that out of such an unforeseen and unfortunate event that we have created a magical space for children in the living memory of St Martin de Porres.
The school definitely made the right decision in replacing the statue!
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.