Bare naked ladies, oh my!
EFE (my translation, and an addition for clarification):
Municipal authorities — acting on orders from the Catholic Church — destroyed a mural celebrating the 250th anniversary of the the town of Encarnación de Díaz, Jalisco based on Michelangelo’s “Creation of Man” on the roof of the Sistine Chapel, depicting nude female figures in place of Michelangelo’s male figures.
Francisco Perez, who painted the mural “Evolution of the female factor,” inside the dome of the municipal Casa de Cultura told EFE that the calls for censorship came from conservative groups linked to the Catholic Church, who complained the “obscene and abhorrent images” offended families.
Encarnacion de Díaz — in Los Altos, considered one of the most conservative regions of Mexico — is within the Archdiocese of Aguascalientes. The conservatives asked José María de la Torre, Bishop of Aguascalientes, to intervene in the matter of censoring the mural, which was approved for completion last year by a previous municipal government and meant, according to the artist, to highlight the importance that women have played in the social development of this community of about 47 000 inhabitants.
Earlier this August, with work still not complete the municipal authorities had the domes painted over with white paint.
While the local authorities, including Municipal President Fermin Gutierrez denied the interference of the Catholic Church although Bishop Torre admitted that the destruction of the work had been his doing.
“If he wants to paint dirty pictures, let him do it in his own house, and see who buys them,” Torre said in reference to Perez.
Perez, who was trained in Milan, Italy, called the censorship of his work as a serious intervention of church authorities in governmental matters.
Cultural Regidor Francisco Ángel Romo González told EFE that the Municipal President had acted unilaterally, without input from the municipal council. A regidor is an elected municipal council representative, the administrative coordinator of inter-departmental municipal activities within a functional area like safety or culture or infrastructure.
Romo for his part said that the clergy needs to respect the decisions made by government authorities, and if there is disagreement, there are ways and means to resolve disputes, “with tolerance and respect.”
Work on “Evolution of the female factor” had begun last August, but was suspended in November, with the municipality still owing the artist 100,000 of the 450,000 peso bill.