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Tel Aviv Gallery Removes “Terrorist Madonnas”

After public outcry, Beit Sokolov, an exhibition space in Tel Aviv, has decided to remove art that features the heads of female Palestinian suicide bombers pasted over classical paintings of the Virgin Mary, including pieces by Raphael and Giovanni Bellini, reports Artinfo via The Telegraph. Israel’s largest daily newspaper, Yediot Aharonot, highlighted Galina Bleikh and Lilia Chak’s works, which are titled Ferror (Female Terrorism), 2008–2009, on Tuesday, provoking anger from some who have lost family members in suicide bombings.

“It's not a subject that should be portrayed positively. These are monsters who killed dozens of people,” Yossi Tzur said. Tzur’s son died in a 2003 bus bombing. Bleikh defended the works on her blog, arguing that the pieces asked why the women chose to become suicide bombers. “In the warped world of extremism, love in the heart of a woman is replaced by such hatred that even motherhood is replaced by desire for annihilation and mayhem,” she wrote.