To Mideo Cruz, don’t worry not everyone cares


Perhaps this is what you wanted after all, at the beginning of the idea that is now an art installation being hurled and cursed at by people of various designations, so-called or else – art critics, devout Catholics, hopeless romantics, pseudo-artsy politicians. You get some prominence, or notoriety, some noisy trending in the internet, people who would either argue for or against you.

This is going to be a relevant topic, I’d like to believe. No, I am not going to forward any stance about your work itself, that being something I haven’t seen completely and personal yet. The internet won’t reveal that too soon and I believe that paintings do not exist in the internet. So I believe I would not have fair bases to comment on your work given that I am yet to see it first hand and on-the-flesh.

The hysteria hovering around your “scandalous” work, however, I see it as an opportune chance to remark on the large situation of art in the country today. Blasphemy, insensitivity to the Church and the religious, I care less about such judgments here. Those are matters of content anyway. And perceived content, at that. And it is a pointless discussion, what art should constitute because art should not be defined in terms of its contents. One is art not by virtue of what it says but by virtue of the manner by which it says what it says.

Art begins in form and is not selective in content. So that “Polytheisms” painting, and the brouhaha hounding it today, reverberates with a more significant point that we must reflect on about our society today.

This group of people raging into the controversy, they usually vitiate or defend the work based on how it affects their sensibilities, or their interests. Church people cries foul; the avant-garde leaning, freedom-loving artists or culturatis will tend to defend. But engulfing this debate whatsoever is the highlighting of art’s elitism. I sell balut everyday and, what does this controversy concerns me? How will I be able to give a sound outlook on that given that I don’t know much art or art criticism? Even intellectuals, they can be at a disadvantage. What if I do not have the money to see the art itself in CCP? How can I participate meaningfully in the discourse?

And that’s it. The discourses of everyday is not the discourses of all, but strangely a discourse for all. Not everyone gets to be involved in making and shaping the discourses but everyone gets vulnerable to being made and shaped by these discourses. The “Polytheisms” issue shall continue being confined  as talk among the elites, the art scholars, the Church, most likely the state too, and whatever resolution be reached, I do not see how a Negros farmer or a mother of 16 in a Pasig shanty can do anything expect to agree.

That is, if they care at all in this esoteric artsy talk.