MANILA, Philippines—National Artist for Literature Francisco Sionil Jose lambasted on Tuesday the controversial artwork of Mideo Cruz, who put a wooden penis on the image of Jesus Christ, saying it was not an art but an illustration that the artist was “immature” and “juvenile”
“I saw the pictures, which too many people object and I said this is not art. These pictures illustrate that the artist is immature and juvenile in his attempt to express his views,” Jose said in mixed English and Tagalog when he faced the Senate investigation on the controversial artwork.
“This artist is not all that good because we do it when we were kids, where you put a mustache in people… ano ba yan,” he added.
But Jose defended art in general, saying there was nothing “obscene” in it compared to the obscenities of corrupt officials in government.
“The obscenities in this country are the powerful Filipinos who do not do their duties, the corrupt officials, who are not responsible. These are the obscenities in our nation. There are only bad artists and bad writers,” he said, which elicited cheers and applause from the people in the hearing room.
Jose then called on the Cultural Center of the Philippines to be more sensitive to the definition of the art itself.