CCP closes down art exhibit amidst hue and cry from gov’t, CatholicsBy Katherine Evangelista
MANILA, Philippines – The Cultural Center of the Philippines has decided to close down the controversial Kulo Exhibit on Tuesday which earned the ire of the Catholic Church, and its followers over the past week.
The decision came amid complaints from Catholics all over the country who decried the exhibit’s reportedly “sacrilegious and blasphemous” nature.
“Due to numerous emails, text messages and other letters sent to various officers 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. This decision was made amidst controversy and deliberation by the Board as to what steps are necessary to avoid future similar incidents,” the CCP said in a statement.
The CCP said threats had become most alarming last August 4 when security personnel reported that an unidentified couple vandalized the art works, and attempted to set fire to the exhibit. Hate mails and threats to members of the board had likewise intensified following the incident.
Critics slammed the exhibit, which included an artwork work by Mideo Cruz “Politeismo”, which showed an image of Jesus Christ with a wooden penis on his face.
“Politeismo has been exhibited since 2002 in such venues as the Ateneo de Manila, UP Vargas Musueum and Kulay Diwa Galleries,” the CCP said.
Another art work portrayed Jesus as famous cartoon character Mickey Mouse.
Earlier, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines issued a statement calling for the closing down of the controversial exhibit. Manila Representative Amado Bagatsing has earlier called for the resignation of the CCP board, led by Raul Sunico.
“In the light of the foregoing developments and recent experience, the CCP management has reviewed its policies and are now taking steps to enable its officers and staff to make more informed decisions in the future,” the CCP said.
“The CCP shall continue to act as catalyst for free expression of Filipino artists. It thanks all those who have, in one way or another, contributed to the dialogue about art, and the different ways it affects society today” the arts and culture institution added in its statement.
Kulo opened at the CCP’s Main Gallery on June 17, and showcased the works of 32 artists. It was part of CCP’s celebration of the 150th anniversary of National Hero Jose Rizal. The exhibit was curated by J. Pacena II.