REFLECTIONS on the “Kulo” exhibit at the Cultural Center of the Philippines
For whom should artists stand regarding the issue of free expression and respect for one’s belief?
Whereas, artists are imbued with the artistic license to express themselves with the materials that lay on their hands for creative endeavors;
Whereas, those creative endeavors are not only in imitating reality but in enhancing the experience of the people who experience this reality;
Whereas, the artists’ role is not only to share aesthetic values to society but using this aesthetics to liberate the minds of the people from the shackles of backward thoughts and feudal relations of production;
Whereas, this monumental task of promoting change in society is not exclusive to the artists;
Whereas, the artists’ role in society is to instigate progressive change together with other progressive forces like the workers, youth, and other oppressed classes;
Whereas, the artists as agents of change must work together with other exploited and oppressed classes in order to realize the objective of change towards a just and humane society;
Whereas, the artists should support and join every struggle of the oppressed class for art to be a potent tool in the movement for change;
Whereas, the church has been an ally of the artist in bringing about meaningful changes in society;
Whereas, the recent conflict in regard to the “Kulo” exhibit at the CCP has created a chasm between the church and artists;
Whereas, this confrontation has detracted from the real issues that plague the Philippine society;
Whereas, the media played a crucial role in keeping the issues burning to the point creating wildfire that cuts across the Philippine social order;
Whereas, the intention of the artists is to dialogue with the believers of catholic faith through fora in order to shed light on free expression and its parameters;
Whereas, the church people is not prepared to enter into meaningful exchange of ideas on one hand, while some artists are not willing to compromise on the other hand;
Whereas, Mideo Cruz did not mean to offend the sensibility of the church people but to provoke intellectual discernment;
Whereas, the church people over reacted to the Mideo’s work and does not stand to reason regarding issue, and vice versa.
Whereas, that the board of directors of the CCP was caught in the crossfire between the principal players in the conflict;
Whereas, the politicians like Imelda Marcos, Amado Bagatsing, Jinggoy Estrada and Tito Sotto join in the fray in order to further their political interests, muddled the issue in blasphemous and religious terms;
Whereas the CCP board decided to prematurely stop the exhibit of the whole “Kulo” exhibit to the disadvantage of those works that were not part of the controversy;
Whereas, the board of CCP has apparently bowed down to political pressure and intimidation from both politicians and some figures of the church hierarchy.
Whereas, Karen Flores disgustedly resigned as CCP Artistic Director for Visual Arts in response to the decision and the attendant escalating conflict;
Whereas, the artists’ community is trying to asses the situation and to refocus its attention to the significant matters of the issue in particular, and national issues in general;
Whereas, the artists’ community needs all progressive forces to align itself with in working towards the changes that will liberate the Philippine society from the shackles of backward thoughts and feudal relations of production;
Whereas, consistent to its call for dialogue, the artists’ should be committed to their faithfulness to their art;
Therefore, as an artist and a cultural activist, I call on my fellow artists to be vigilant of our creative rights to remain a potent force in creating history.