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Compromise reached on Buddha with banana

Stored under Caption This!GamesMiscellaneousNewsRecipesRelated EBay AuctionsReviewsVideosVisual Stimulation on October 18, 2007

A gallery owner who caused a public outcry by exhibiting the statue of an aroused Buddha in a Norwich shop window yesterday said he had reached a compromise with police.

The now infamous £125,000 Colin Self sculpture depicts an otherwise serene Buddha with a food offering of a banana and two eggs arranged provocatively in its lap.

Norfolk Police's hate crime unit launched an investigation after complaints about its display in the St Giles Street Gallery. Members of the Buddhist community and a neighbouring business owner had claimed it was offensive.

Officers threatened to seize the work if it was not removed and arrest owner David Koppel.

Mr Koppel closed the business for a week while a solution was found.

Yesterday, the gallery reopened to the public and Mr Koppel said an agreement had been reached with the police. “I have agreed to remove the Buddha with the fruit offering to the back of the gallery away from the view of passers-by,” he said.

“It will be facing the window, as it was, but will now be further inside. I am satisfied that this is a reasonable resolution. For me it was an issue of freedom of artistic expression - this way the public can still appreciate the piece but it should not cause offence.”

He added that the controversy has generated huge interest in the business.

“This exhibition followed on from our most successful exhibition in the five years since we opened, Frank Herrmann's Unseen Beatles,” he said.

“Both exhibitions have received enormous media coverage, for one reason or another.

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