Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Christians to pursue criminal case vs CCP, controversial artist
08/09/2011 02:54 PM

Even after the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) closed down on Tuesday the gallery where the controversial "Kulo" exhibit is on display, Christian groups said they will continue to file criminal charges against the CCP and artist Mideo Cruz.

Lawyer Jo Imbong of the St. Thomas More Society of Lawyers said they will pursue the case because “the Christian nation has been offended."

“The Christian groups will pursue the charges because a serious offence has been committed and the CCP and the artist are accountable under the law," Imbong said on an article on the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) website.

“The Christian nation has been offended. Besides, it will set an example to all. The criminal case is about a public crime that can be filed by any citizen anytime," she said.

For his part, Pro-Life Philippines president Eric Manalang, one of those who demanded that the exhibit be stopped, said ending the exhibit will not stop their protest rally on Wednesday outside the CPP.

“Stopping the exhibit does not stop the protest tomorrow… the bigger picture of our government being the pied piper leading us to disaster on a straight path going to hell," Manalang said.

Threats to persons, property

In a statement, the CCP on Tuesday said threats to persons and property have influenced the management's decision to close down the gallery.

One of the artworks displayed in the gallery — artist Mideo Cruz's piece, a mixed-media collage called "Poleteismo" — has triggered a heated debate between freedom of expression and respecting religious sensibilities.

"Due to numerous emails, text messages and other letters sent to various offficers of the CCP, and to the artists themselves, with an increasing number of threats to persons and property, the members of the Board of the Cultural Center of the Philippines have decided to close down the Main Gallery where the Kulo Exhibit is on display," the CCP said.

"This decision was made amidst controversy and deliberation by the Board as to what steps are necessary to avoid future similar incidents," the CCP added.

According to the CBCP report, Virgie Lamoso of the CCP's Museum and Visual Arts said management has decided to close the main gallery for security reasons after Cruz’s installation was vandalized last week.

Similar incidents

In other countries, some artworks also triggered protests and acts of vandalism.

In April this , New York artist Andres Serrano's 1987 photograph "Immersion (Piss Christ)" was destroyed by Christian protesters in Avignon, France.

"The Guardian" reported that it was hanging in the exhibition "I Believe in Miracles" in art-dealer Yvon Lambert's gallery, when four people hammered at the plexiglass screen and slashed the photograph.

The vandalism came following a concerted protest campaign headed by Civitas, a lobby group aiming to re-Christianize France.

Early this year, the Smithsonian Institution came out with a recommendation to preview culturally sensitive exhibitions.

The review of their existing exhibition policies was conducted following the removal of the late artist David Wojnarowiicz's controversial video "A Fire in My Belly" from the show "Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture" at the National Portrait Gallery.

The video, which showed Christ with ants crawling over him, caused quite an uproar, and was called "vile and offensive" by Catholic League president William Donohue.

- with Carmela Lapeña, VVP, GMA News

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