Kulo (exhibit)

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Date: 2011

Region: Asia

Subject: Religion, Political/Economic/Social Opinion

Medium: Mixed-Media Artwork


Artist: 32 participating artists, all former students from University of Santo Tomas

Confronting Bodies: The Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) and the Catholic group, Pro-Life Philippines

Dates of Action: 2011

Location: The CCP Main Gallery in the Philippines

Description of Artwork: Kulo, a compilation of mixed-media artwork work by 32 artists, opened on June 17, 2011 at the CCP Main Gallery. The exhibit was supposed to run until August 21, 2011 before it was shut down. It was meant to be part of the Center's celebration of the 150th birth anniversary of Philippine national hero Dr. Jose Rizal.

The Incident: The CCP decided to shut down the gallery where the exhibit was displayed. In a statement to the press, the CCP said threats to persons and property influenced the management's decision to close down the gallery. However, after the CCP closed down its main gallery, the Catholic group Pro-Life Philippines continued with its plan to sue CCP officials and those behind the exhibit. Jo Aurea Imbong, executive director of St. Thomas More Society (an association of Catholic lawyers), claimed the lawsuit was valid due to violation of the Revised Penal Code’s (RPC) Article 201 on immoral doctrines, obscene publications, and indecent shows. Lay groups also claimed that the exhibit mocked the Catholic religion, because of the images of Jesus Christ closely surrounded and associated with male genitalia and scantily clad women.

Results of Incident: On August 4, 2011, unidentified vandals defaced the controversial art exhibit at the CCP. On August 5, at the "Dakdakan" forum at the CCP, opposing sides clashed on the issues of freedom of expression and religious sensibilities.The organizers said the exhibit was borne out of “discourses of the pen and the sword, education and revolution that continue to implicate Filipino artists and thinkers." The exhibit was then closed after much media exposure and negative feedback from the former First Lady.

Source: GMA News Online