Thursday, August 04, 2011

Art is art

I know this is a bit tad too late because it's in the news when the church reacted to Mideo Cruz arts being shown at CCP a week ago but I've only known about it when I watch a replay of XXX @ ANC channel. And my only excuse is that I was way too focus and worried by the storm when the news was aired.

While watching it my first reaction was, what the heck was he thinking? I felt outrage pouring out on every cell in my body. Yes, it was sacrilegious for the Christians and when I saw a condom attached at the top of a crucifix one would think why? Is this art? And posters of celebrities/idols and other clippings beside Jesus Christ is just so wrong.

Jesus Christ and Mama Mary have been dear and we hold them sacred on a Christian's point of view and seeing such kind of art is like an insult for all of us. Majority of Filipino's are Roman Catholic and hanging such kind of art would really pissed us. And one would think that if he used one of the things that the Muslim's hold dear he won't be alive now, so I don't really blame the church for calling out to the people to boycott the exhibit.

Archbishop Oscar Cruz said, “It is not only sick, it is also sickening. Binabastos mo ‘yung pananampalataya ng iba (you insulted the faith of others. No one in his right mind with the proper value system would even think of doing such things. I wonder if those who did those desecration's would allow me to do those things to them.”

Mideo Cruz, a performance and mixed media artist, whose art has been featured in exhibits in Switzerland, Italy, and the United States, however, dismissed the criticism as inevitable. “Hindi mo maiiwasan na kapag nagpo-provoke ka o naglalabas ka ng ideya, e may mga tatamaan (When you provoke someone or you introduce an idea, you can’t avoid affecting some people negatively),” he said. Cruz added that he has been receiving death threats because of his controversial style.

I was really angry upon seeing that kind of art because it simply made my blood boil. It was really insulting and yes sacrilegious, and it made my heart ache when I saw it (it almost made me cry!).

But after a day I watch it again and search in the net what's the artist point of view and answer the "whys" on my head. (Why he did it? Why use symbolic items that the Christians use? etc)

The art is about "Sanctification".

In "Sanctification," Cruz wants us think more deeply about the objects of our idolatry. What is the nature of our gods? Why are they worthy of our love? Is it possible to be tricked into belief? Does faith evolve into something transcendent, or does it mask a relationship founded on deceit? If we are defined by the things we worship, what kind of creatures are we? These are just a few of the questions that "Sanctification" provokes.

So, after reading that, and reading a lot of articles that had Mideo Cruz input/interview. I looked at his "art" again and made me think deeper on what the artist is trying to convey. Artist are really hard to ponder huh? After I looked and looked I finally saw what his art is all about. One should look not at the surface but on the deeper aspect of what the art is about.

After much musing it made me wonder why do we really put so much and adore Jesus and Mama Mary pictures and Images? We could just commune to God in a heart to heart basis after all. The first Commandment says, "You shall not have other god beside me". So, if we do and pray on things then maybe that is idolatry?

My faith to God is still strong after that and actually the art made me think why do we really put people (Celebrities/political figures) on pedestal? We should put God first above all things. And really during Christmas Season we are all so into Santa Clause and forget that it's all about Jesus Birth and on Easter Season we forgot that it's not the Easter Bunny but Jesus Christ sacrifice for our sins.

So, instead of pouring out our anger we should think and see things in a clearer picture. I do feel for you. I was also angry (like you) but after much reflection its just art after all. There's a bad art and good art. Classy, crude, crass art. There are different types of art. And Cruz Art might have irked us but it's art. Let's just let it go.


lifted from ABS-CBN

Catholic lay groups threaten to sue CCP over controversial artworks
By Caroline J. Howard, ANC

MANILA, Philippines - Various Catholic lay groups threatened to take legal action against the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) if its controversial exhibit is not closed before 6 p.m. on Thursday.
Atty. Jo Imbong, executive director of the St. Thomas More Society Inc., said they may file charges against the CCP for violating Article 201 of the Revised Penal Code, which penalizes the exhibition of offensive material.

"There is a provision in the Penal Code which penalizes the exhibition of works which offend religion. That might be one possibility. Or a civil suit which requires the closure of the exhibit," Imbong said on ANC's "The Rundown" on Tuesday.

"What we have done so far is give notice to the CCP through president Dr. Raul Sunico and gave him 48 hours to close the exhibit. I spoke to him and he promised to promptly act on our letter."
The works fanning controversy are images of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary which were adorned with objects not related to Christianity -- from a crucifix with a wooden penis to a Christ the King figurine with rabbit ears.

These are part of an exhibit titled "Kulo," which features works of some 30 artists from the University of Santo Tomas (UST). They proposed the exhibit, which was launched on June 17, in line with the institution's 400th anniversary.

"Apparently, the use of Christ's image, Christ's face, the rosary, the crucifix and interspersing it with the male organ, broken crucifixes piercing the eyes and forehead of Christ...the message that's delivered here is one of mockery and vandalism that hurts the sensibilities of the Christian community," Imbong said.

Imbong said those who have visited the exhibit, which is open to the public, have called "Kulo" an "insult to their faith."

She added that even some of CCP's staff "were revolted by it."

"The role of the CCPCCP is supposed to foster? Are we going to be proud of what destroys revered symbols? That's not Filipino at all and that is contrary to the mandate of CCP," she said.

'Legitimate' art

CCP chairperson Emily Abrera, however, stands by the legitimacy of the exhibit, saying that it promotes intelligent debate.

"We see nothing wrong with the works, exhibit," she said.

"I don't know if they've viewed the entire exhibit. Mr. Medeo Cruz's installation is one of the 32 artists and I think we should take it as part of the exhibit. This is part of the dialogue of the discourse, part of social community. Not all art is for aesthetic purposes...and that is the context from which the exhibit must be taken.

"It is part of our culture to question, it is part of our culture to seek answers, to look behind the surface and dig out what our real values are. This is a time for questioning for many."

While art is, after all, a form of expression, Imbong maintained that such expression has its limits and that artists have a social responsibility.

"Unlike any other form of speech, (art) has its limits. It is not absolute. The law admonishes respect of the belief of others," she said.

The CCP, meanwhile, will hold a public forum on the exhibit at its main gallery on August 5 from 2 to 5 p.m. as a result of the incident.

Educators, representatives of religious organizations, art practitioners and experts on culture and law are invited to take part in the discussion.


With sheer audacity, one would wonder if Cruz gutsy stunt in provoking traditionalist in our midst is an insane gesture or just want to share his artistic view to the whole nation. We cannot deny that majority of us is still in shackles and bondage with the rules of etiquette and the church would always be there to voice out reasons if they think what we stand for would led us astray from the path of goodness.

But what about our individual rights? We live in a democratic country and I hope that each one of us would be free to live like our Americans brethren. I really respect the church but there are also limits that they have no say at all. ( I am talking about the RH bill. For me, it's the right of the people to have this bill approved because there are a lot of weigh on the health sectors that would benefit us. Get real peepz! OK. Abstinence is OK and great for some peepz to be on that genre but not ALL of the citizens are practicing that! So, please, we really need the RH bill to be approved).

A church that doesn't discriminate on your personal beliefs as you have had a relationship with Christ, and doesn't shoved things down your throat, is a Good Church to me at least.

This is a really sensitive issues but then again lets just leave them. Art is art. We all have different perspective and let's just respect each others point of view.


  1. yes, it's very disturbing but art should make you think on what the artist is trying to convey.

    I admit it made me curse him too but its art and we do live in a democratic country so he has the right to hang his work there.

    Yes, he is too insensitive and some would judge him and say he disrespect our religion but I think he is trying to say something here. that we Filipino's are too fixated on things that we hold on to symbolish too tightly.

    the man may have caught the ire of our church but I think they reacted too violently. They should see his artwork first and think deeply why he did it.

    I actually think that he is a christian. he is too fixated with Mama Mary.

    I think what he's trying to say is that we put iconic celebrities and put them on a pedestal and are more facsinated with mickey mouse and the easter bunny and with all that we tend to forgot the Lord. everyday of our lives we have time for those celebrities and we as a christian should also have some time for God.

    that's just my reflection :)

  2. Mideo Cruz's works is not an art or if it's an art for him, maybe it's the art of hell and demons. I can't believe he has the guts to do such kind of things.