Here’s my humble opinion on the CCP exhibit that got shut down.

For me, Politeismo is merely the artist’s representation of what he sees in this country. No one can take that away from him because that is his OWN opinion. For us, Catholics, it is only natural to get offended by what he did to the religious images in his artwork. But before reacting violently against the artist, we must also take a step back and take a look at the WHOLE artwork. Have you actually seen its entirety or have you just seen excerpts from news reports? Because honestly, Philippine news channels have to work on the ideal of being unbiased. Even if you are a Catholic news anchor, it is your job to disregard your own opinion and deliver impartial news. If you want to express your own opinion, be an artist.

All are in agreement that Politeismo is vulgar. He is vulgar by placing phallic and sexual objects on figures that we worship. We have every right to be offended as a (mostly) Catholic nation. But if you have seen its entirety, there were also political figures amongst the religious figures. For me, the exhibit was not just about the Catholic church. I think what he’s saying is that if what he did was vulgar to the Catholic images (that we shouldn’t even be worshipping in the first place—read iconoclasm*), aren’t these corrupt politicians far more vulgar than the exhibit itself? They steal our money and our future for their personal gains, go to Quiapo church on their knees in front of the cameras and act as if they are the holiest people on Earth. Funny because one of these “vulgar” politicians ordered for the exhibit to be shut down. Another one is calling for the CCP heads to resign. I wish it were as easy in our government, if you don’t like this corrupt official, just order for their resignation and the next day they are gone. Why isn’t this happening? Because most of them are “makapal ang mukha” and we let them get away with it.

Just as we Filipinos love to idolize and hang things on our walls, the artist did nothing but to take a snapshot of those odd combinations of the things we idolize and have in our homes. And as you are compelled to ask the artist WHY, don’t you think you should be asking the same question to yourself?

So, would shutting down the exhibit be the end of it? Definitely not. Some say that the exhibit was nothing but shock value. And I guess sometimes you need to shock people, to jump-start them and get them to start talking. Let us stop pretending that nothing is wrong and start talking about everything that is wrong. So just as we didn’t let Mideo Cruz get away with tarnishing our Catholic idols, I hope that just the same, we do not let these burglars in our government get away with everything that easily. I wish that how quickly we acted upon the shutting down of this exhibit, that’s how quick the “due process of law” is here in the Philippines.

Again, this is just my take on the issue. Others might feel the other way.

*In Christianity, iconoclasm has generally been motivated by a literal interpretation of the Ten Commandments, which forbid the making and worshipping of “graven images”, though the degree of aniconism in Christianity has varied greatly. source

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