A replica of Michelangelo's 'David' sculpture has been censored at an expo in Dubai to avoid causing offence to Muslims.
Staff at the expo reportedly agonised over how to display a 3D-printed replica of the famous piece, eventually opting to place the figure within an octagonal glass gallery spanning two floors, with two stone separators placed on each level. With the figure positioned as it is, David's modesty is protected from public view.
"We even thought of putting undergarments on the statue, or changing it altogether, but it was too late," a source on the project told Italian paper La Repubblica. "We understood too late that it was an error to bring a statue of a nude man to the Emirates."
The famous work depicts David in a tense pose as he prepares for battle with Goliath.
Italian art critic Vittorio Sgarbi described the decision to cover up David's nakedness as "grotesque and ridiculous".
"This is a biblical theme, not a pagan theme, so cancelling a part of Michelangelo's David at the Italian pavilion of the Dubai Expo is just bowing to their religion and culture," he told the Adnkronos wire agency.
Davide Rampello, the director responsible for the display, defended the display as "unique".
"It is a different perspective, which is new, introspective and moving," he said.
The Expo 2020 Dubai aims to showcase examples of innovation and culture from around the world. It has been marred by controversy, however. On Sunday, event officials confirmed that six workers involved in the expo had died; three passed away from Covid, while the other three died after suffering construction-related injuries.
There have also been reports of workers being underpaid. The UAE has no national minimum wage and the Expo only set one for cleaning services staff, at 1,000 dirham (£200) a month. Last month, the European Parliament urged member states to boycott the event over the UAE's "inhumane practices" against migrant workers.