Before the weekend, I had it listed in my itinerary to visit Museo de Oro for “Me and The Now” art exhibit by no other than Louie Talents. I read about Louie a couple of years ago through a local magazine; his creativity and arts have been an inspiration since then. I was even surprised when I chatted with him once finding out that they’ve been good friends with my brother during uni and probably high school I think.
“Me and The Now” is a solo exihibit of contemporary arts by Louie Talents’ in response to the current issues and events addressing the country specifically the island of Mindanao (Me and The Now actually resembles the sound Mindanao). It tackles issues on politics, peace and conflict, culture, society and children’s rights along with a foreign perspective for his art collaboration with an American professional ballet dancer who takes the art of dancing as a way to deal with conflict and promote peace.
Among the artworks, the Bayani Art Project of 4, 848 matchsticks with the artist’s penmanship in every piece stating “pagkawala ng pag-ibig sa bayan” (a decline of one’s love for our country) was for me the most complicated and amazing artwork exhibited. If I remember, Louie presented and posted a photo of this artwork via FB during the heightened political scandal on pork barrel scam. As a viewer, with Jose Rizal’s appearance printed in matchbox surrounded with matchsticks, it urges to awaken nationalism, a burning love for the country. For the artist, the root of poverty is not corruption but a decline of love for the country.
The Meupia art created with letters between the children from Ecole Petis Paris and Manobo tribe from Bukidnon was also my favorite one. I appreciate how the artwork recognizes the social and children’s rights issues and how the letterwriting bridges the gap between two cultures geographically set apart. It takes a lot of imagination and artistic dexterity to form those letters into such a way so the concerns are better artistically presented.
A DEBATE ON LOUIE TALENTS’
BLASPHEMOUS “BLAST-FAMOUS” ART
It was difficult for this artist not being noticed. First, he’s truly a talented artist with excellent art projects. Second, it was remarkable for him to be the first one granted with a scholarship by the French Embassy to study full term at an art school in Paris, and third, the people especially the religious sector find his artwork offensive (yet unique). The Palanay Art Project by Louie (which was not part of the exhibit) is made of cauterized Bible book pages, something that was never done before but to some, they find it religiously offensive.
My first impression was no offense at all. It could be that I was looking the subject as an art rather than in its religious point of view. How would you weigh art and religion? For anything considered Holy, it should be treated with respect. Does it make the artist disrespectful by treating the Bible in a different way? Would you consider his reasons for doing it? The answer probably lies between right and wrong, moral and immoral. The Philosophy of Ethics taught us three things: Morality, Amorality and Immorality. In my opinion based on this philosophy, amorality allows the artist to deviate from the norms of the society not for the purpose of offending or mocking but for the purpose of art and expression itself.
This is, however, a case to case basis. Think about those religiously sensitive arts or ideas in the past inundated with public criticism such as Politeismo by Mideo Cruz or Charlie Hebdo’s Mohammed cartoon, which are too obscene for me to compare with Talent’s Palanay. Sometimes we’re so caught up with thinking “out of the box” we tend to ignore cultural sensitivity; so how are we going to deal with both culture and the arts? I’m so baffled how. Maybe if contemporary arts are seen as a form of expression and reflection rather than an insult or an attack, maybe it’s a whole lot easier for the society to accept. But it’s not always like that, is it?
Well then, enough for me now about these critical thoughts. You may find more information about the Palanay Art Project here. It’s your turn to see and think about it.
*Courtesy to my friend Elle for the cool photo below. 🙂
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