Outraged Bolivians protest over Virgin painted in lingerie

Residents attend an outdoor Mass after taking part in a procession honoring their patron saint, Our Lady of Socavon, in Oruro, Bolivia, Thursday, March 1, 2018. Hundreds, including Oruro's archbishop, governor and mayor, marched in protest of a Bolivian artist and her painting that depicts the religious icon wearing red lingerie and transparent stockings. The governor gave state workers the day off in order to participate in the demonstration. (AP Photo/Juan Karita)
A pilgrim looks out from behind her statue depicting Our Lady of Socavon, in Oruro, Bolivia, Thursday, March 1, 2018. Hundreds, including Oruro's archbishop, governor and mayor, marched in protest of a Bolivian artist and her painting that depicts the religious icon wearing red lingerie and transparent stockings. The governor gave state workers the day off in order to participate in the demonstration. (AP Photo/Juan Karita)
A woman holds an image of Our Lady of Socavon, in a procession honoring their patron saint, in Oruro, Bolivia, Thursday, March 1, 2018. Hundreds, including Oruro's archbishop, governor and mayor, marched in protest of a Bolivian artist and her painting that depicts the religious icon wearing red lingerie and transparent stockings. The governor gave state workers the day off in order to participate in the demonstration. (AP Photo/Juan Karita)
Miners carry an image of Our Lady of Socavon, in a procession honoring their patron saint, in Oruro, Bolivia, Thursday, March 1, 2018. Hundreds, including Oruro's archbishop, governor and mayor, marched in protest of a Bolivian artist and her painting that depicts the religious icon wearing red lingerie and transparent stockings. The governor gave state workers the day off in order to participate in the demonstration. (AP Photo/Juan Karita)
Women hold posters that show Our Lady of Socavon, in a procession honoring their patron saint, in Oruro, Bolivia, Thursday, March 1, 2018. Hundreds, including Oruro's archbishop, governor and mayor, marched in protest of a Bolivian artist and her painting that depicts the religious icon wearing red lingerie and transparent stockings. The governor gave state workers the day off in order to participate in the demonstration. (AP Photo/Juan Karita)
In this photo made through an aerial cable car window, residents attend an outdoor Mass after taking part in a procession honoring their patron saint, Our Lady of Socavon, in Oruro, Bolivia, Thursday, March 1, 2018. Hundreds, including Oruro's archbishop, governor and mayor, marched in protest of a Bolivian artist and her painting that depicts the religious icon wearing red lingerie and transparent stockings. The governor gave state workers the day off in order to participate in the demonstration. (AP Photo/Juan Karita)

LA PAZ, Argentina — Hundreds of Bolivians held a pilgrimage Thursday to protest an artist's rendition of their patron saint wearing red underwear and black stockings.

Artist Rilda Paco has earned some praise, but also faced criticism and even death threats over her painting of the Virgin of Socavon in the mostly Roman Catholic country. The painting shows the virgin in lingerie surrounded by people in colorful costumes who dance with alcohol bottles in their hands at the annual Carnival in the mining city of Oruro.

The protesting faithful attended an outdoor Mass and some dropped to their knees before a religious painting of the virgin at a church in Oruro, about 120 miles (190 kilometers) south of La Paz.

As the faithful sang and prayed, the sun broke out on a rainy day. Oruro Archbishop Cristobal Bialasic called it "a sign of purification before such a serious offense."

The city is home to a statue of the virgin that is nearly 150 feet (45 meters) high — a shade less than New York's Statue of Liberty and 23 feet (seven meters) higher than Rio de Janeiro's image of Christ the Redeemer.

Bolivians pay homage to the Virgin of Socavon during the city's annual Carnival celebrations, which have been recognized as part of the patrimony of humanity by UNESCO. Two deadly explosions shocked Oruro during this year's celebrations.

Paco has said she did not mean to offend anyone with her painting but only wanted to use it as a form of protest.

Carnival is "where you see the largest consumption of alcohol, rapes and violence," she said. "The Virgin is a mother and as mother she is a woman before a saint. Painting her like this denounces how we feel as women when we are victims of harassment, femicide and rape."

Oruro is the capital of President Evo Morales' home province. Oruro Gov. Victor Hugo Vasquez, a member of Morales' ruling party, threatened to sue the artist for offending the virgin.

But Justice Minister Hector Arce defended Paco, saying that "the respect for the freedom of speech and worship should be above our religious beliefs."

Related News

Historic recognition: Washington's family tree is biracial

Sep 17, 2016

The National Park Service and Mount Vernon are acknowledging history not included in most textbooks: America's first family tree has been biracial from its early branches

17 stolen masterpieces returned to Italy with only scratches

Dec 21, 2016

Seventeen masterpieces valued at some 17 million euros were returned to Italy from Ukraine Wednesday, with little more than scratches to show from their ordeal, after being stolen by masked and armed robbers from a Verona art museum last year

Los Angeles beats San Francisco for George Lucas museum site

Jan 11, 2017

"Star Wars" creator George Lucas and his team have chosen Los Angeles over San Francisco as the home of a museum that will showcase his work

Search

Welcome to The Zig Zag World. This travel blog will help you to make the most out of your travel time with interesting destination guides. Our paths will definitely cross some day as we zigzag around the world.

Contact us: sales@thezigzagworld.com