Today in the Philippines a collaborative art exhibition of 32 artists closed today over controversial subject matter, the majority of which came from artist Mideo Cruz. A whirlwind of public protest has surrounded the exhibit since its opening on June 21st, 2011. The artwork has been called extremely objectionable and offensive by the Filipino President Benigno S. Aquino III and the majority of the Philippine nation.
The “objectionable” artwork in question surrounded a wooden cross with a protruding penis and used condoms draped on a cross. The work, previously on display at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, has been called an affront to Christianity by most. Mr. Cruz, livid at the closure of this exhibit, argued that this is an infringement on his freedom of expression to display particularly the condoms on a religious statue.
This issue brings far-reaching implications for artists and government-financed venues like the cultural center. The center, supported fully by public financing, claimed vandalism and hate mail as the reason for shut down. Hate mails, threats, and attempted arson have shadowed since day 1 of the opening and eventually led to its closure today.
Cruz, interested in the “culture of idolatry”, highlights religious images and icons mixed with images of pop culture figures. He blurs the line between what qualifies an idol and calls attention to our current pop culture landscape. However, can and should the use of a used condom on a cross be censored?
What do you think was the right course of action on this issue ONE condoms fans? Are you in support of the freedom of expression in a public place or do you think the use of condoms on religious statues is blasphemous? Does Mr. Cruz have the right to that freedom of expression?