I initially didn’t want to participate in this madness but after hearing Mass last Sunday, I thought I should send forth my opinion on this matter, for the sake of my faith and my conviction.
First off, let me declare that I am one of the people who took offense to Mideo Cruz’s artwork. It is blasphemous and insensitive to my faith. I have a lot of friends who are artists, painters, art enthusiasts and so I am no stranger to art appreciation. However, Mideo’s installation of religious objects mixed with phalluses carried it to the extreme.
If the artwork was taken out immediately, and if the artist and the CCP immediately apologized to the Catholic community (as a recognition of the fact that there have been insensitivities unwillingly committed), the issue could have already died down. But no. The issue became an ugly fight between church and state. Art and religion. And the discussions have become muddled with such things as “the arrogance of art”, “the church bullying the people”, Mideo being the new Rizal and “Poleteismo” being today’s “Noli Me Tangere” (far from it, I say).
Now, even while the artwork wounded my religious convictions, I also would not be so quick as to brandish my rosary to the CCP officials and condemn them to eternal damnation. For me, it was also an unnecessary and uncalled for extremism. Threats to the officials, threats of depriving CCP of its budget, and I can’t believe I will use this phrase, “desecrating an artwork”, also do not show signs of a mature, civilized society.
I do not want this to be a forum that will make me defend my religion or the Bill of Rights. I have a lot of friends in the advertising industry that are pro-CCP. I have a lot of friends who do not find anything wrong with “Poleteismo” because it is “art”. Curiously, I have not heard from any of my Catholic friends about what they feel.
As to my personal conviction, I’ll say it again. I find Mideo’s artwork repulsive and insulting. That’s all there is to it. But I will not call for banning the rest of his artworks. And I will also not crucify CCP and ask for their blood on the cross.
I hope that this issue be put to an end. It is so sad that we the people, in our refusal to understand each other’s point of view, in our refusal to humble ourselves and respect the fact that we ourselves have committed offensive acts against one another, in our refusal to even apologize to one another, have unleashed a monster. And this monster is out in the streets, happily gnawing away at the fabric of an extremely stubborn, defiant society.
* Photo Credits: San Agustin Church from Pinoy Travel Bug; CCP from Metro Sense