Jesus mural
The giant mural, by Cosmo Sarson, is inspired by an event in 2004 in which breakdancers performed for the Pope.

An 8.5m (28ft) mural of Jesus breakdancing has been unveiled in Bristol - opposite one of Banksy's most famous works.

The work of art, created by Cosmo Sarson, shows Christ posing upside down with his feet in the air while balancing with one arm.

According to the London-based artist, the controversial image, which took a week to complete, was inspired by an event at the Vatican in 2004 where breakdancers performed for Pope John Paul II.

"It was quite an epic thing but I think I've pulled it off," Sarson said.

"It's one of the most prestigious walls in Bristol - obviously there's a Banksy and it's quite a desired spot in Stokes Croft, which has a big reputation for painting and murals.

"But I'm very relieved. It's been hard painting in public - a lot of eyes on me - and it was quite an epic thing."

The Canteen diner commissioned Sarson to paint its wall, which is directly opposite Banksy's Mild Mild West- an rendering depicting comic policemen and a bear. It will remain on the wall beside the venue for the next two years.

Jamie Pike, of The Canteen, said: "Breakdancing Jesus represents everything Bristol should be proud of.

"We have a proud history of religious tolerance, incredible cultural diversity and a vibrant creative history. Breakdancing Jesus is a celebration of that."

Some critics, however, have branded the mural an insult to the Christian faith.

"What an offensive image, no respect for Christianity whatsoever," one viewer said.

Banksy's 'Love is in the Air', created in 2006, will go on sale at Bonhams auction house in London on 27 June, where it is expected to fetch as much as £100,000.