The Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP) joined artists and organizations in a demonstration for freedom of expression in front of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) in Manila on Sunday.
The Kulo Exhibit which included the controversial artwork Poleteismo was originally scheduled to close on August 21 but it was closed down last August 9 by the CCP Board. The artists gathered in front of CCP to hold a symbolic closing activity.
“We were saddened by the untimely closure of the Kulo exhibit as the CCP was forced to take action amid threats and pressures from some groups. We call for vigilance against censorship and other forms of curtailment of our freedom of expression,” said Renan Ortiz, Spokesperson of the Concerned Artists of the Philippines.
The Concerned Artists raised the alarm that closing of the entire Kulo Exhibit amidst threats and extreme pressure from religious groups, legislators and Malacañang could be bad precedence for other exhibits or shows in the CCP.
“How ironic, that President Noynoy, who is the son of freedom fighter, Ninoy Aquino, who celebrates his 29th year of assassination by a tyrannical government, would stand in favor of censorship and stand against the constitution that legitimized the Presidency of her mother, former Corazon Aquino. We challenge the government to uphold freedom of expression as enshrined in the Constitution. We call on Malacañang not to compromise this basic right for any political expediency,” Ortiz said.
The Concerned Artists also expressed support for artists and members of the CCP who face charges filed by some religious sects. Jo Cabuyan, a faculty member of the University of Santo Tomas who helped in the Kulo Exhibit, is also facing a case of termination as a result of a complaint against her involvement in the exhibit.
“We rally behind our artists who are being persecuted. Their civil and economic rights are now threatened, and we are ready to defend them,” Ortiz said.
The Concerned Artists welcomes the presence of CCP Artistic Director Chris Millado who also came to the gathering.
“We call on CCP to continue to open its gates to artists and cultural workers, especially to those who create to depict the realities of our society and promote people’s interests and welfare in these trying times,” Ortiz said.