• Thu. May 19th, 2022

Facility’s color change sparks controversy in the Philippines

ByLinda W. Smith

May 11, 2022

Installation of JINGGOY BUENSUCESSOit is KAINGIN (2022) on the lawn of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Manila. Picture via Facebook.

On May 9, the Visual Arts and Museums Division (VAMD) of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) released a statement on his official Facebook page in support of Jinggoy Buensuceso’s artistic intention to convert the color of the ribbons from red to pink for his installation KAINGIN (2022), currently displayed on the CCP lawn. The message countered a previous address posted on the CCP’s own Facebook page two days prior, which called the change an “unauthorized action” that violated election rules in the 2022 presidential election, as the color pink is associated with candidate Leni Robredo. political campaign.

Supported by Chris Millado, Vice President and Artistic Director of CCP, the latest statement from VAMD clarifies that the change was made by the artist himself through a proposal, which was approved by Millado. For his installation, Buensuceso transformed the CCP lawn with more than 1,000 sculpted bululs, which are figures made of molded fiberglass infused with dirt, burnt debris and dust collected from areas of the Philippines that have experienced severe environmental disorders. When debuting on April 30, the characters were entwined with red ribbons, but a week later the artist decided to convert the color to pink to celebrate “the flame of renewal, hope and love for the fatherland”, according to his proposal. The statement also emphasizes the “responsibility of arts curators and administrators. . . defend [the artist’s freedom of expression] and ensuring a safe space for artistic creation, development and appreciation.

In a previous Facebook Publish dated May 7 on the CCP’s official page, the Center proclaimed that it “waives all responsibility for the unauthorized action taken to decorate the forehead with ribbons bearing the color associated with any of the presidential candidates.” and accused him of “flagrant and brazen violation of election rules.” The CCP also said that as a government institution, it “will never engage in partisan activities, especially during elections.”

While the entertainer expressed no political views and the VAMD insisted the change was “without prejudice to the campaign trail”, the act led to speculation that it was done to support Robredo’s campaign, since the ribbons were replaced on the last day. of the difficult presidential election season in the Philippines.

Owned and controlled by the government, the CCP must adhere to the Civil Service Commission (CSC) under which civil servants are prohibited “from engaging in partisan electoral and political activities”. Acts that display material intended to “support or oppose the election of any candidate or party” are therefore considered prohibited under the 1987 Constitution and other laws and statutes.

The color transition was executed on May 7 but was quickly taken down before midnight the same day “in accordance with the [Comission on Elections] rules,” Buensuceso said in a now-expired Instagram Story. The installation, stripped of all ribbon, can be seen on the PCC lawn until May 30, 2022.

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