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A university professor in Alabama drew controversy last week when unveiling his new piece of artwork which depicts Swastikas and controversial images of the Virgin Mary in a critique of the state’s new immigration law.
Prof. Edward Noriega, who teaches art and design at Troy University, unveiled the piece in response to HB 56, a 2011 measure regarded as the nation's strictest anti-illegal immigration law.
"I wanted to be able to compare what Alabama is doing with what the Nazis did,” told the local CBS affiliate, Channel 8. “I do believe that this law is a form of ethnic cleansing.”
The piece, which had been slated for display at the Heritage Hall Museum in Talladega, Ala., includes a portrait of the Virgin Mary as a cleaning lady, carrying a cleaning product re-branded as an “ethnic cleanser.” A series of swastikas also adorned with the names of several Christian denominations including Baptists, Presbyterians, Methodists, and Catholics can be seen in another image produced by the professor.
PHOTOS: Professor uses artwork to skewer Alabama's immigration law
The Heritage Hall director’s museum cancelled plans to display the piece, citing the “offensive” symbols included.
Noriga, for his part, expressed surprise at the debate ignited by his artwork.
“I didn’t think they were controversial and I absolutely stand by them, it’s work that I created,” Noriega told Campus Reform on Monday.
Noreiga further defended his use of Nazi symbols saying Alabama’s strict new immigration measures are akin to ethnic cleansing.
“And I also feel that through the work what I’m saying is that this law is a modern form of ethnic cleansing,” he said. “[I] included the iconography from Nazi Germany has a great deal to do with the commonality of the language being used in the Alabama, phrases such as show me your papers.”
Despite the removal of his piece from the Alabama museum, Noriega said he has more politically themed work planned for public display in the near future.
Follow the author of this article on twitter: @TimPDion
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