A new sculptural work, Coralarium, created by artist and environmentalist Jason deCaires Taylor, was demolished last week after it was deemed anti-Islamic. The semi-submerged artwork was criticised by religious leaders and scholars in the
Maldives, where Islam is the official religion. The depiction of human figures in art is discouraged under Islamic law.
The government ordered the destruction of the artwork, after a court ruled it to be a threat to Islamic unity and the peace and interests of the Maldivian state, despite the authorities previously granting permission.
The project by DeCaires Taylor features a large steel frame with cutouts aiming to mimic the marine world was intended to allow sea life to explore freely within, acting as a new habitat for coral and other species. Thirty human figures were
positioned on top and inside the frame at tidal level, with others submerged beneath. The sculptures were based on life-casts of people, around half of them Maldivian, with some reimagined as hybrid forms including coral or root-like elements.
Nine months in the making, its creation involved a large team of marine engineers, steel fabricators, divers and mould-makers. However, on 21 September the work was destroyed under court order with pickaxes, saws and ropes. The Coralarium
structure and underwater trees remains intact but the human figures have been hacked out.
A censorship row has blown up about a retrospective exhibition of Robert Mapplethorpe's photographic work at Serralves museum, in Oporto, Portugal
Although the institution's creative director João Ribas had previously stated to Público newspaper that there would be no censorship, partially-covered pieces, special rooms, or any sort of restriction to visitors motivated by age, adding that only a disclaimer would be placed at the exhibition's entry to warn the public that certain content might hurt some visitors' susceptibilities.
But a few days before the inauguration Ribas unexpectedly resigned from his position, arguing that not only there were areas with limited access to minors against his will but also that he had been asked to remove twenty photos from it altogether
-- declarations to which the museum's administration has since then responded to, saying this had resulted from Ribas' own decision.