Filipino artist criticized for 'blasphemous' art

Posted at 07/22/2011 8:25 PM | Updated as of 07/22/2011 9:05 PM

MANILA, Philippines – The work of a Filipino artist has received flak from various groups, including the Catholic Church, for the unconventional use of religious figures in his art pieces.

The artist’s exhibit, displayed at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), featured photographs of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary adorned with objects not related to Christianity.

A crucifix was decorated with a piece of wood in a shape of a phallic symbol.

One Christ the King figurine had rabbit ears.

Exhibit of Pinoy artist Mideo Cruz

Mideo Cruz, a performance and mixed media artist, was criticized by Archbishop Oscar Cruz, who called the exhibit “sickening”.

“It is not only sick, it is also sickening. Binabastos mo ‘yung pananampalataya ng iba,“ said Archibishop Cruz.

The artist has reportedly been receiving death threats because of his unusual style.

Cruz defended his art and said criticism is inevitable in his line of work.

“Tinutuloy ko lang ‘yung mga ginagawa ko. Hindi mo maiiwasan na kapag nagpo-provoke ka o naglalabas ka ng ideya, e may mga tatamaan,” he said.

He said his art has been featured in exhibits for the past 10 years, even reaching seminaries.

His works have also reached Switzerland, Italy and the United States.

"Walang sinabi ang mga semenerista at obispo doon. Tinignan pa nila ito na positive na bagay dahil nagiging paalala ito sa kanila doon sa mga siguro ginagawa nila," said Cruz.

Cruz neither confirmed nor denied if he is an atheist.

When asked whether he believed in God, Cruz said a much deeper and longer discourse will be needed to address this issue. -- Report from Henry Omaga-Diaz