The University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman community was rattled last night by accusations that a recently unveiled brass sculpture within campus, dubbed as the female version of its famous Oblation statue, was plagiarized from a Dutch artist.
Hours after a photo of Ferdinand Cacnio's "UPlift" circulated online, some began pointing out that it bore a striking resemblance to Elisabet Stienstra's "The Virgins of Apeldoorn," which has been on display in the Netherlands since 2001. Both artworks depict a naked woman made to appear to be levitating.
Other similar sculptures were also brought up such as Quentin Bell's 1973 "Levitating Lady," which could be seen in Sussex, England, and his 1982 "The Dreamer" installed at the University of Leeds.
Massachusetts-based artist Andrew Devries's 2009 "Innocence" was also thrown in the mix, despite Cacnio having said that he first came up with "UPlift" in 2008 for a local exhibit.
There's also another piece called "Ascension" from Texas-born Lori Kiplinger Pandy, who said that she wanted her small-scale sculpture to be the "embodiment of the spirit in surrender." She made it in 2012.
And albeit covered in cloth, Matt Johnson's "Levitating Woman" utilizes a similar visual illusion with the ones listed above. Johnson, who lives in Los Angeles, debuted his work back in 2012.
Cacnio has already denied the plagiarism accusations, maintaining that "UPlift" is his own creation.