Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mideo Cruz's "Polytheism" - a Devil's Works?

Mideo Cruz
Mideo Cruz, the artist in hot water!
"Polytheism" or "Poleteismo" in Filipino is an artwork of 37-year-old visual and performance artist, Mideo Cruz. It is about the worship of relics and how idolatry evolves through history and modern culture, which is recently the subject of critics furor for being "sacrilegious and blasphemous".

This is not new, the Cultural Center of the Philippines said. This had been featured in exhibits in Ateneo de Manila, UP Vargas Museum and Kulay Diwa since 2002.

cross in penis hands doll
Controversial Icon
However, for Cruz's art piece received tremendous criticism from the Catholics for it portrays a version of Jesus Christ as a mouse and displays other religious objects "juxtaposed with a red penis" which they labeled as "sacrilegious and blasphemous".

Cruz defended that his art is without ill intentions. He wanted it for commentary on icon worship, but he was surprised by the violent reactions from the people, especially the conservative Catholics. "We cannot please everybody," deplored Cruz.

Mickey Mouse Jesus Christ
Mickey Mouse Christ
The art exhibit displays posters of Christ and the Virgin Mary, crucifixes and religious curios during the three centuries of Spanish rule that introduced Catholicism in the Philippines, and the images of Mickey Mouse, the statue of Liberty and U.S. President Barack Obama geared towards the lasting influence of U.S. Imperialism.

The other part of the exhibit is a giant wooden crucifix with a bright red penis that can be moved up and down, a symbol of patriarchal society where men are "worshiped".

The display of sculptured penis hanging from a wooden cross and Mickey Mouse Christ as phallic objects is a symbol of power as explained by Cruz.

Nevertheless it's still a mockery of their faith, according to the insulted Catholics.

Cruz was branded a "demon" and even bombarded with death threats and hate mail. His exhibits were set on fire but saved by a security guard.

The University of Sto. Thomas (UST) group of artists disown Cruz.

Cruz lamented, "You can't force people. But I just hope that when we look at something, the process doesn't stop at the surface."

Cruz works were one of those featured in "Kulo" art exhibits in CCP that began June 17 until Aug. 21, as part of the CCP’s celebration of national hero Jose Rizal’s 150th birthday., but the exhibits were closed in Aug. 8 for the controversy of "Poleteismo" artworks.

Well, what is art? and what is not? And how's freedom of expression expressed in arts?

Watch Word of the Lourd TV5 AksyonTV 41, a video posted in Mideo M. Cruz's Page at Facebook. And evaluate it for yourself.

1 comment:

  1. I may not agree with the theme. But I actually respect him for getting the point across. Isn't the purpose of the finest art forms to convey a message? And the artist conveyed his loud and clear.

    The divine worship of the cult of Hedony. Modern day man in Primeval iconographic reverie, be it in one form or the other.


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