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A section of an art exhibit at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) showed Our Lord depicted blasphemously.  There is very little tolerance for such stuff here in the Philippines, decidedly a Catholic country (though as of the last two or three decades the invasion of Evangelical and Fundamentalists have succeeded in making converts), the art exhibit was shut down.  As in the U.S., where art exhibits of anti--Catholicism is the norm, especially shown in Catholic domain and premises, the trend is taking shape in this country, and the exhibit was held at the publicly funded  CCP, it escaped notice that a brief run was made at The Ateneo University (Jesuit institution, what else?).  This particular section of the exhibit was called "Penis."

In response to this art exhibit, I sent in my Broadside, especially that the "avantguards" of the art world here want the exhibit to be reopend.

The art exhibit titled "Kulo," a Tagalog word meaning "to boil."  However, since most Filipinos are used to "Taglish" (combination and usage of foreign words appropriated into the language), "kulo" is a Spanish word for "ass" (butt).  (Tagalog does not have "C" in its alphabet).  Thus my Broadside, "Un pedaso de kulo" (A piece of Ass).  The artist's name is Cruz.


Instead of being appreciative and thankful that the Kulo exhibit would suffer less artistic derisions of the pitifully dismal artwork of Cruz by its closure, the mindless clamor of the "vanguards" of the Filipino artist world insist in having it reopened for no other reason than invoking the tired and oft-repeated platitude of "this is censorship and that artistic expression be made free."

Cruz deludes himself by appropriating the nomenclature, "artist" -- but judging by his works he only shows himself to be an impostor.  There is nothing original about what he has shown as his artistry, and many before him have attempted to propose and propound these acts of apostasy by his blaphemous renditions -- crude, childish and immature -- of his Creator and Savior. 

Why can't Cruz be original?  Limited imagination, or lack of it.  Such works he has produced won't probably be even admitted in CEO Comedy Central, but surely it will be admitted without clamor at Fordham University (Jesuit) which has allowed such "works" of art (always anti-climatic with themes of sodomy), and of course by the CCP.  But what does the CCP know about art?  Cruz only discredits himself and his "artistc" efforts.

The majority of these avantgarde artists go beyond the limits of artistic expression, disregarding the fact that there is no such thing as absolute freedom.  It may exist in societies which tolerate such expression, but in respectable societies it is always a restrictive and is invariably circumscribed, as in some parts in the Philippines where decency, culture and devotion are still the norm, although the eroding of values has already began more pronouncedly there is hardly anymore left of the traditional Catholic character and ethos.  Some of these may still be gleaned in the homespun and the humble, but among the rest, they have become secular humanists.

If the realization that absolute freedom does not exist, these secularists flee to the more acceptable principle known as "artistic license," likened to poetic license or, even cinematic license, where everything and anything is possible.  But as in everything else, there are limits to these licenses.  It is the "right" presumed by the artist to change the norm of his calling to make it comply with what he supposedly imagines to be art. 

As a general rule, a painting has to have a "controlled structure."  The artist may feel to have the freedom to distort this structure (and thus invoke artistic license).  However, it remains totally and entirely a subject of aesthetics, and whether sensibilities are offended or are acclaimed and complimented.  In the case where the artist ventures into subject matters that offend the values, beliefs and mindset of decency, he must himself not be offended if severe criticism is the "accolade" given his work, though in the infirmity of his distorted mind he expects praise, acclaim and commendation.  And in the case of Cruz, his work turns simply not only into disappointment but complete rejection.

That the works of Cruz have found accceptance in such institutions as the Ateneo and the Univeristy of the Philippines, and elsewhere, when no one noticed the abberation until the present time only goes to show that there is a pitiful lack of the traditional critical mind among Filipinos.  I only was made aware of this when attention was brought to me by a banner headline in a daily periodical, which goes to show that I am yet not acclimated fully to the Filipino Christian culture to which I have only recently returned after four decades living abroad.  And upon my return only did I begin to notice that the Catholic Philippines has been slowly eroding in its faith.  In all respects, the Philippines is hardly a Catholic country any longer, although it may still enjoy the distiction of being one of two countries in the world that western style divorce is not permitted.  The other country is the Vatican.

A mad dash is being spearheaded to restore all things lost in Christ.  The Gospel of Christ has been perverted as seen in the numerous (by the thousands) proliferation of "churches" and "beliefs."  Where it was taught that there is only One Christ, the same yesterday, the same today and the same tomorrow, many have arrogated for themselves "other" Christs. 

Why is Christ and holy things the object of derition, mockery and ridicule?  Because of the pacific nature of His teaching.  Would Cruz have had the temerity to depict Mohammed and Allah as he did to Christ?  Why, of course, NOT!  "Off with his head!" as the Red Queen in Alice's Wonderland would scream.  Then Cruz is nothing but a coward and a impostor.

As a footnote to the impasse, there is a need for the submission of the intellect and will in all things as commanded by the Gospel.  It is the only cure for the infirmity of the Christian mind.  It means to give religious assent to the intellect and will, and not provoke what is profane to the decent Christian principles and values, but esteem what is righteous and virtuous, "avoiding the profane novelties of words, and oppositions of knowledge falsely so called." (l. Tim. vi. 20.). 

Then perhaps, Cruz will transcend and become the true artist he aspires to be. 
I read in the news the other day that a couple of Catholics went into the exhibit and destroyed some of the smut.  They pulled it off the wall, smashed it and lit it on fire.  ;D