Color change of art installation at CCP sparks controversy


Posted at May 13 2022 02:33 PM

MANILA -- Changes made to the art installation at the front lawn of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) recently sparked controversy, at one point showing opposing views from two offices in the government-owned company.

The artwork in question is "Kaingin" by Jinggoy Buensuceso, which was launched last April 30. The Earth Month-inspired installation shows a thousand bulul figures connected by red ribbons.

Days before the elections, the red ribbons in "Kaingin" were replaced with pink ones, prompting the CCP Office of the President to publicly condemn the color change. 

Pointing the blame at "a few personnel," it said the move was "unauthorized" and is "a blatant and brazen violation of election rules."

"This is to inform the Filipino public that the CCP disavows any responsibility for the unauthorized action taken by a few personnel to deck the front lawn of the CCP with ribbons donning the color associated with one of the presidential candidates," the CCP Office of the President said in a Facebook post last May 7. 

"The management firmly reiterates that the CCP is a government institution and therefore will never engage in any partisan activities specially during elections," it added. "We express our sincerest apologies for this unconscionable breach of electoral laws and betrayal of public trust. Rest assured that a sweeping and prompt investigation will be undertaken to uncover the personnel responsible for the said act."


Two days later, the CCP Visual Arts and Museum Division reacted to the statement made by the cultural center's Office of the President, reiterating that it was Buensuceso himself who proposed to modify his work, which they approved.

Quoting the artist, it said the pink color signifies "flame of renewal, hope, and love for the Motherland."

"The proposal was submitted to the Office of the Artistic Director and approved cognizant of artistic processes that usually accompany such interactive installations and without prejudice to any election-related activity. It is within the artist's right to freedom of expression to create, present, and evolve his/her artistic work," the CCP Visual Arts and Museum Division said in a Facebook post last May 9. 

"It is the responsibility of curators and arts administrators, as ourselves working in the government center for the arts, to defend these rights and ensure a safe space for artistic creation, development, and appreciation," it added.


According to the CCP Visual Arts and Museum Division, there was "no intended breach of electoral laws nor betrayal of public trust" in allowing the artistic exercise. 

"At best, the art installation seeks to generate a healthy conversation with the community in looking for more intentional solutions that sustain our humanity," read the statement, which was attributed to CCP vice president and artistic director Chris Millado with Ariel Yonzon (associate artistic director for production and exhibition department) and Rica Estrada (officer-in-charge of the Visual Arts and Museum Division).

The statement of the Visual Arts and Museum Division was later on reposted on the official Facebook page of CCP, along with the remarks made by the Office of the President.

Buensuceso's latest post on Instagram showed his work not having any ribbons.

The "Kaingin" art installation is available for viewing until May 30