As an artist, it is important to view expression with equality, to be willing to say what the art, as if a separate life, wishes us to say. While the work or vocation of an artist is made, an artist as a person who must express views, is born, an artist is not made through training and study. Still, the artist has a social role. The artist is responsible, even if it is not asked for, to express what the art wishes. If an artist is silent or invisible because they do not want to offend someone in the public, they may be doing damage, by not expressing what art wishes. Art is important to the world and society, even when it goes against what opinions of others are, and what common knowledge is. Art is invention, and intellectual and social evolution, and we need it to grow as a group, and as individuals. I am both an artist, and a Christian. While I value highly the life of Christ, and live my life with faith, which is very important to me, I see nothing positive in oppressing artistic expression, regardless of the content, or even, of the sincerity of it. I know that the God I know has given us gifts to use, gifts to use with inspiration, and gifts to make sometimes great error with. But still, we have these gifts, which we all should use. Some people have one gift, other people, another. An artist has a certain set, and is obliged to use them. If not, a God given gift is wasted and for me, that is both a pity and a sin. It is not the human role to judge others. Only something beyond human providence can evaluate a life, and only on completion, when many things have come and gone, good and bad. It is obscene to think that political conservatives and liberals, or administrative members of a religious group can make moral judgments of humans, and have them stand for God’s word. This is a role and function only God controls. Humans may interpret, but to act as judges in these matters in my opinion steps beyond the power we should have. This, I say as a Christian. While I will not express my opinion on the specific art that is found offensive, i will say, as God gives us free will, we are free to exercise it. It is God given to express ourselves through our various gifts and skills. To pass judgment on human creative expression puts human moral judgment over Gods, who gave us these freedoms from the start. So, no matter the content, it is important for people in government, the church(s) and general public to very seriously consider what they do, in regards to punishing unpopular art and offensive material. To ignore something offensive is the best treatment, not to punish it. We are confronted with moral tests every day, what we will agree with, and what will give us encouragement and hope in our lives. In art, we are frequently tested, but this should be a personal experience, these moral tests, and not be controled by others. Moral tests let us examine what we think is good, and bad. In this way, all creative work has a role, but it should be a personal one, not a mandate, or a set of conditions. Creative art must be free and open to expression. This is important in a moral world, that all things may lead forward, with one person at a time, to a general enlightenment of mankind.
Best, Lewis Gesner
The Polyartistic and Intermedial Association ARKA (H.C.E.) expresses full solidarity with the well known Philippine artist Mideo Cruz and considers very intrusive and inappropriate the current criticism of the Philippines’ conservatives Catholic Church about his research and artistic witness. Any form of censorship and obscurantism against art, today as in the past, must be regarded as an unlawful abuse of power and as a real “sin” against the human spirit. The Catholic Church should be ashamed of their own crimes against humanity throughout its long history, rather than deal with contemporary art.
Massimo Zanasi & Paola Cao
Sardinia – Italy
I Stand For Freedom of expression for all!!!