Mideo Cruz, CCP execs face criminal charges for "offensive" art
(SPOT.ph) Catholic lay groups yesterday, August 11, filed criminal charges against 10 Cultural Center of the Philippines officials and artist Mideo Cruz, reports GMA News. The group was charged for violating Article 201 of the Revised Penal Code of 1930, which prohibits public display of obscene and offensive materials, The charges stemmed from the controversial "Kulo" art exhibit that featured religious imagery adorned with phallic, and other unconventional items.
"They broke the law, which protects against attacks on the Church and races," said Pro-Life Philippines president Eric Manalang in an interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Lawyer Jo Imbong of the St. Thomas More Society and Kapatiran lawyer Manuel Dayrit in the GMA report, the exhibit "directly attacked Christianity" and "(insulted) and (mocked) Christian belief and Christian worship, and (offended) the religious sensibilities and faith of the Christian faithful comprising an overwhelming majority of the Filipino population."
Artists, meanwhile, are concerned that the "Kulo" controversy would lead to artistic censorship, reports a separate GMA News story. Much to the dismay of artists and art supporters, the exhibit was closed down on August 8. CCP executives, however, clarified that the decision was not to succumb to pressure from protesters but rather, to protect the concerned parties after receiving death threats. "Napakalungkot para sa kalagayan ng sining sa Pilipinas (This is very sad for art in the Philippines)," said National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera, who also earlier released a statement supporting the exhibit.
With regards to censorship, Cabring Cabrera, teacher and Datus Tribe vocalist, said: "Galit na galit kami sa censorship. It prevents. It blocks. It doesn’t allow us to get our message across. That is a very, very dangerous thing... The ultimate goal is, mabuksan ang isipan ng mga audience na nanonood, at ang mga bata na tinuturuan ko," he said. Former Movie and Television Review and Classification Board chief Nicanor Tiongson suggested to improve art education in the country. "Aside from teaching the elements and medium of artistic expression, the philosophies and functions of art must also be explained," he said, adding that "art is not just pretty Amorsolo landscapes to decorate our wall... art is a constant affirmation of the truth as seen by the individual artist. And that expression is always subversive because artists see through the falsities and pretensions of the establishment, and dream of worlds better than the one we have."
Watch GMA News’ coverage on the case against CCP executives and Mideo Cruz