A statue by urban artist Banksy that appears to be making a statement about abuse in the Catholic church has been unveiled at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool. The 18th century replica stone bust – Cardinal Sin – has had its face sawn off and replaced with tiles to create a pixellated effect, giving a sense of a scandal. [gallery columns=”3” link=”file”] The statue, which is on indefinite loan to the gallery, is thought to be a comment on the alleged abuse scandal in the Catholic church and its subsequent cover-up. In a statement, the artist said: “I love everything about the Walker Gallery – the Old Masters, the contemporary art, the rude girl in the cafe. And when I found out Mr Walker built it with beer money it became my favourite gallery. The statue? I guess you could call it a Christmas present. At this time of the year, it’s easy to forget the true meaning of Christianity – the lies, the corruption, the abuse.” Perhaps controversially, the statue is on show in one of the 17th century Old Master galleries, home to many religious works and sculptures. Belgian artist Rubens’ The Virgin and Child with St Elizabeth and the Child Baptist is the most well-known piece in the gallery. Reyahn King, Director of Art Galleries at National Museums Liverpool, said Banksy had asked that his sculpture was shown specifically in the gallery’s period collection. She added: “We were very happy to oblige. We are thrilled to display the work of this major contemporary artist. It is a huge coup and we’re sure his work will spark a reaction with visitors.” The unveiling comes just days after another apparent Banksy piece was discovered in Liverpool. A bi-plane trailed by a chain of smoke was found on a wall in a car park on Rumford Street. Banksy also has another piece on display in Liverpool – a giant rat was painted on the exterior of the Whitehouse Pub on Berry Street in 2004. The sculpture is only the second of Banksy’s works to be shown in a gallery after an exhibition of his work in the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery two years ago.