A POSTER of a painting of Jesus, part of an art collaboration
between the London Underground and a church, has been rejected by
Tube bosses as being potentially offensive.
The black-and-white artwork (above) depicts a bound
Jesus in a crown of thorns before a panel of judges in a mock TV
reality show called Kill Your Idol. It was made by the
artist Antony Micallef, and is currently on display at St
Marylebone Parish Church, along with other pieces for the Lent
exhibition "Stations of the Cross" (Arts, 28 March).
Various Tube stations are displaying posters of the works, but
Mr Micallef's painting was rejected by Transport for London (TfL).
In a statement, a spokeswoman for TfL said that the poster had been
banned because it did not comply with its advertising policy.
The spokeswoman referred the Church Times to two
sections of the policy. One clause states that adverts must not be
"likely to cause widespread or serious offence to members of the
public"; another bans adverts that "do not comply with the law, or
incite someone to break the law".
Speaking to The Guardian, Mr Micallef said: "I am angry
because it is censorship. It is not offensive. I don't understand
why the church said yes and the Tube said no."
The Rector of St Marylebone, the Revd Stephen Evans, said that
it was a shame TfL would not display the poster. "I thought that,
of all the works, it was one that had no reason anyone could find
not to put it on the Underground. It is not an image that could
cause offence, it's not obscene. It is just a very, very strange
A few of the other 20 artworks commissioned for the exhibition
have also been rejected for display on the Tube, including a
photograph of the late artist Sebastian Horsley being nailed to a
Mr Evans told The Guardian that he was surprised that
Mr Micallef's painting had been rejected. "In many ways, I think
the work is one of the easier images to access. It . . . really
does make people stop and think, especially if they like watching
programmes like the X Factor. It makes you think about how
Christ would bear up in front of a modern TV audience."