Imelda pwns Pnoy, and Jesus with a penis.

It seems Imelda could do something Pnoy couldn’t: shut down a “blasphemous” exhibit at the CCP:

Meet our new Philippine President: Her Excellency, Madame Imelda Marcos
By Raïssa Robles

When Imelda Marcos went to the Cultural Center of the Philippines and asked it to shut down an art exhibit, it promptly did.

When presidential spokesman Ed Lacierda was asked what the Office of the President intended to do with the same art exhibit, he washed President Benigno Aquino’s hands for him and said: “I think we should not be involved in a matter that is purely a decision made by CCP and this is about art.”

Whether the President likes it or not, he is involved because the CCP is directly under him. That’s what the CCP website says.

But this is just in. According to radio station DZMM, President Aquino has reacted negatively to the exhibit. He said it was insulting and that freedom is not absolute.

PNoy said this after Imelda Marcos had stepped in and wielded presidential power for him. I don’t know if he ordered the exhibit to be closed as well. In any case, Imelda Marcos beat him to it.

It’s an amusing incident, and the quoted Imelda Marcos soundbite was classic Imelda:

After seeing the exhibit I was really shocked because it was not only ugly, it was not true, it was not at all beautiful because there were statues and pictures of saints and Christ with horns and with his penis up and it was really a desecration of a spiritual symbol for Catholics.

But I agree with Raïssa Robles’ concern about how CCP seems to take Imelda Marcos’ opinion on what art is to be the standard to judge the merit of an artwork.

I’ve heard about the controversial CCP exhibit (titled “Kulo”, with Mideo Cruz’ “Poleteismo” as the piece causing so much furor) the round-about way: colleagues talking about how they heard it in the news, with me not really bother to see it myself. The typical reaction people have is outrage and indignation over the apparent “blasphemous” treatment of religious symbols.

One time, my manager greeted me on the floor and asked me if I hear about it. I shrugged in agreement. She said something like how it was offensive, implying that the work went beyond what is covered by artistic license.

I couldn’t agree with my manager, though. Art as a form of expression is not meant only to please its observer. Nor does it require to follow consensus or approval. It might be truer to say that art is meant to elicit reaction; whether it is a positive or negative reaction is beside the point.

That is not to say that we should abandon notions of good or bad art. Everyone is free to criticize the merits of an artwork, such as on the basis of technique or context or relevance. But that also means everyone should be given the right to view an artwork should they wish to.

The removal of the CCP exhibit purely because it offends some people’s religious sensibilities was censorship. This country has always believed censorship to a way to protect the minds of its people against corrupting influence.

Raïssa Robles went on to point out how reactions from various personalities over that exhibit was a display of religious fundamentalism. And I could see her point. I may not use that word myself since I think the reaction was a knee-jerk protectiveness over what we think is our religious pride (how ironic), but it might as well be the same thing.

It’s the same way we Filipinos violently react over some foreigner making an apparently racist remark against us while ignoring the casual racism we ourselves practice. We really are a country of narrow-minded jerks sometimes.

I’ve now seen photos of the “Poleteismo” online. Really, I’ve seen worse.

More links from the Interwebs:
Meet our new Philippine President: Her Excellency, Madame Imelda Marcos
Official CCP Statement on Closure of ‘Kulo’ Art Exhibit
Mideo Cruz’ “Poleteismo”: When Art is Condemned