An art gallery in the North East is under fire after exhibiting a 1ft high statue of Jesus with an erection.

The artwork, by gay Chinese-born artist Terence Koh, is being exhibited by the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead.

The gallery has received complaints from Christians and visitors alike who argue the sculpture degrades the Christian faith.

Roman Catholic priest Rev Christopher Warren, of St Mary’s Cathedral in Newcastle, told the Irish Times.

“For Christians, the image of Jesus is very special and to interpret it in a sexualised way is an affront to what we hold dear.

“While Jesus was a human being in every way, to portray him in this way will offend.”

Koh’s exhibition, entitled Gone, Yet Still, consists of 74 plaster models, ranging from statues of Mickey Mouse to ET, all with full erections.

The artist claims all the people and objects depicted in his exhibition are important in his life.

The gallery has placed a sign outside the exhibition, warning visitors of the explicit nature of the artworks.

However, this is not the first time the Baltic Centre has been in trouble for exhibiting artworks of an explicit sexual nature – just last year, the gallery caused controversy with a picture of two young naked girls owned by Sir Elton John.

So far the centre has received four written complaints about the Jesus statue, although many visitors have complained verbally.

Some complainants made the point that there would be huge outcry if a statue of Muhammad were displayed that way, comparing this incident to the Danish cartoons affair.

Koh, 30, was born in Beijing but grew up in Vancouver, Canada. He later moved to New York and call himself the ‘Asian Punk Boy’.

Most of his artwork tends to focus on the concepts of ‘punk’ and sexuality.

The exhibition also includes works by Turner Prize-nominated artists, such as Tracey Emin and Mark Titcher.

All the art pieces are from the private collection of Newcastle-born Anita Zabludowicz.

The exhibition runs until January 20th.