It is upsetting that the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) Board of Directors succumbed to the pressure by permanently closing the exhibit. Moreover, the manner by which various opinions were discussed, presented and circulated was frustrating if not disheartening.
Since this issue began, I have expressed my position on this matter: the focus should be on the dialogue of art and nothing more. This is in fact a significant part of the show’s context, which is to re-evaluate past and present dialogues and how these ideas are revealed through the different artworks by 31 participating artists. In the process of presenting this exhibition to the public, the importance of the artist and their contribution to the art community, as well as to the society they live in, is made viable, and in relation to this the discourse between the artwork, the audience, and the artist were deemed an important part of the equation; however and whatever response it got.
In order to further involve and inform the audience on the diverse approaches and contexts, the art pieces had accompanying statements. These served as jump-off points from which particular ideas can be deliberated and pondered on.
I am respectful of artists and the artworks they produce. I also believe that as artists, we should assume responsibility for the works we create and the ideas we communicate. This allows a process of engagement where the artist and his audience could learn from each other.
Despite the ongoing debate and controversy surrounding the work of Mideo Cruz, I maintain that:
We must protect the rights of all the participants in this exhibition.
We should not censor the artwork.
We should continue this dialogue and exchange of thoughts for a possible resolution.
During the forum last August 5, I was hoping to redirect the focus on the concept and premise of “Kulô.” Unfortunately, it has gone beyond that. Resulting events show that things have gotten out of hand.
The latest pronouncement of the CCP Board sets a bad precedent. Our right to freely express ourselves were curtailed. I am shocked and appalled by how our civil liberties were exploited to satiate the sensibilities of a raucous mob. In effect, majority of the participants’ ideas and artistic expressions were neglected and compromised by this decision.
As the curator of the exhibit, a student of art, an art educator and a practicing multimedia artist, I deplore this repression.
J. Pacena II
Curator/Participant of “Kulô”
(Multimedia Art Director and Art Educator)