An art exhibit in the Philippines was shut down on Tuesday, after controversial pieces upset the Christian community.
The display featured a sculpture with an image of Jesus Christ made to look like Mickey Mouse, a collage of Christ mixed with celebrity imagery and a wooden cross decorated with phallic symbols and condoms, according to The Washington Post.
The Philippine exhibit first opened in June and was set to close on Aug. 21 according to The Washington Post. However, religious officials and country leaders expressed their distaste for the exhibit in a country with a majority Roman Catholic population.
Benigno S. Aquino III, president of the Philippines said he spoke with the Cultural Center of the Philippines where the artwork was displayed. He admitted to influencing the state-run cultural center that shut the exhibit down.
“I was in contact with several board members yesterday and I told them I am a Christian, and our country is composed of at least 85 percent Christians. Depicting Christ in an unflattering manner by anyone is wrong,” Aquino said, according to The New York Times.
The president said the publicly funded center “should be in the service of the people.”
Instead, Aquino said the center’s display was offending the public.
“When you insult the beliefs of most of the people, I don’t see where that is of service,” the president said according to The New York Times.
Imelda Marcos, former first lady of Philippines, visited the exhibit on Monday and shared the current president’s sentiments.
“It was a shameful exhibit, especially since it was placed in the Cultural Center of the Philippines,” Marcos told reporters on Monday, according to New York Times reports. “We built that to be the sanctuary of the Filipino soul and a monument to the Filipino spirit.”
The Artist Formation to Uphold Freedom of Artistic Expression took to their Facebook page to comment about the exhibit closing.
“The bishops and religious lay leaders pushing for the closure of the exhibit are demanding not only that we persecute one person’s creative expression, but that we hinder any other creative expressions whose concept and presented ideologies they do not agree with,” the group said. “To allow the exhibit’s closure based on such would set the precedent for all other exhibitions that would follow.”