An artist has created a portrait of former Pope Benedict XVI – made entirely from condoms.
Niki Johnson began her artwork in protest at the ex-pontifex suggesting the contraceptive could increase the AIDS epidemic in Africa.
The 25-year-old created the artwork, which she named Eggs Benedict, using 17,000 coloured, non-lubricated condoms.
She spent 270 hours over three years to complete the piece – 135 hours opening every condom individually and another 135 threading them through wire mesh.
Niki, from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, now hopes to exhibit the piece in a bid to have an open discussion about sexual health and diversity.
Critics have blasted the controversial portrait as “disgusting”.
But Johnson said: “I find people’s anger toward it very interesting. Someone said that if I’d made a portrait of Muhammad, I’d have been stoned or something.
“I just thought, ‘But the great thing about this country is that we have a freedom of expression and we can stand up for what we believe in.”
She also told a newspaper: “I see it as an inclusive piece. Yes, it says something about the church’s position on sexuality but it also embraces diversity with humour and irony.”
Speaking on her choice of using condoms, Johnson added: “Condoms aren’t things that people typically break out in their houses or discuss openly with their children. I think the portrait demystifies the condom and makes it about something other than just sex.”