Artist rally behind CCP’s “Kulo” exhibit

originally posted on: August 4, 2011

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Artists and cultural workers from the Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP) raise their voices in support of Mideo Cruz whose work “Poleteismo” is now the subject of attacks by religious authorities and their organizations.

“We support the CCP, specially its Visual Arts unit headed by Karen Flores, and the organizers of KULO for upholding freedom of expression as guaranteed by the 1987 Constitution,” says Dr. Bienvenido Lumbera, National Artist for Literature and current Chairperson of CAP.

Article 3 section 4 of the country’s constitution states that “no law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.”

The bishops and the lay leaders who are pressuring the CCP to close the show are within their right to speak against KULO, and they are free to admonish the Catholic faithful regarding what they find objectionable in Mideo’s artwork. We believe, however, that this demand to suppress the show smacks of the religious fascism of the friars of Rizal’s time and certainly unacceptable in the 21st century.

“We welcome the CCP’s call for a dialogue on the exhibit, believing that criticism of our work is part of the artistic process and contributes to the growth of the artist. We caution critics, however, not to resort to intimidation and defamation that threaten the artist’s freedom of expression,” said CAP Secretary-General Prof. Neil Doloricon of the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts.

We call on artists and cultural workers from the different fields of art and humanities to stand steadfast against the curtailment of the Constitutional guarantee of free artistic expression that founding CAP Chairperson Lino Brocka persuaded the Convention to insert in the 1987 Constitution. When he advocated support for works “that will hurt…that will not make you rest…For the times are really bad, and given times like this, it is a crime to rest.”

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