Artists air fears of censorship; Cruz exhibit gets new venue



AN artists’ coalition yesterday said they are planning to display the controversial “Kulo” exhibit in another venue on August 21 if the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) will not reconsider its decision to close it.

August 21 is supposed to be the last exhibit day of “Kulo” at the CCP.

Iggy Rodriguez, spokesperson of the artists’ group Palayain ang Sining, said in a press conference at the University of the Philippines that they are planning to reopen the exhibit on August 21, including Mideo Cruz’s “Poleteismo.”

Rodriguez declined to give details.

“We call on all artists to join us in our cause and mount a creative protest against censorship,” he said.

The press conference, which was attended by artists’ groups such as Sining Bugkos, Ugatlahi, the Concerned Artists of the Philippines and Artists Arrest, national artists, and advocates of freedom of expression, expressed their support for Cruz and the fight against censorship and attacks on freedom expression.

“We call on the CCP to reopen the exhibition in the spirit of free flow of ideas and cultural expressions,” they said in a statement.

The artists and art educators said the closure of the exhibit bodes ill for freedom of expression in the Philippines.

They also threw their support behind Cruz and former CCP visual arts head Karen Flores, who resigned on Wednesday.

Flores told the forum that religion should not lead people to hatred, and should instead enlighten people, leading them to practice tolerance amid their differences.

National artist for literature Bienvenido Lumbera expressed fears that the incident would set a precedent.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said Malacañang did not pressure any CCP board member or official to resign.

“A resignation is a personal choice. Ulitin lang po natin na wala pong ganoong utos or wala pong ganoong naging salita galing po kay Pangulo. Iyung resignation, as in any case, is always a personal choice,” Valte said.

“Iyung resignation po ni Ms. Flores is something that is between her and the CCP board,” she added.

Valte said there is no censorship order against the CCP, whose officials were only reminded by President Aquino that the institution is funded by the public and should be more sensitive to public reactions involving religious feelings.

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