Ukraine: Storm over artist's depiction of politicians in Hell

Painting by Volodymyr Kuznetsov
Image caption The painting has split opinion at the gallery where it was due to be displayed

An artist in the Ukraine has sparked a censorship row after his painting of politicians and the rich being boiled in Hell was covered over in black paint, it's been reported.

Volodymyr Kuznetsov says that his unfinished painting depicting priests, judges, MPs and policemen in a huge cauldron has been excluded from an exhibition attended by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. "It appears that it is banned to depict the suffering of the authorities, drunken bastards, disgraceful cops and lying judges in Hell," the artist said after the work was painted over. The painting also showed a sexual minority representative, a Pussy Riot protester, a Chernobyl worker and a female pensioner watching the "sinners" boiled, from what was intended to be the "paradise" side of the canvas.

The ban has reportedly split the management of the gallery, with the deputy director resigning over the issue. However, the gallery's chief, Natalya Zabolotna, defended the decision, saying that Kuznetov's submitted work was "quite different" from what had been agreed. "This piece of work is a slap in my face, a challenge and provocation against the exhibition's visitors," Zabolotna said.

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