Sunday, January 17, 2010

Manual Ocampo - Artist or Trash?

Hey Everyone,
Have a look at this collection of paintings done by Filipino Artist, Manuel Ocampo.

Manuel Ocampo  (born 1965) is an artist from the poor yet Westernised nation of Philippines. His style of art as a Filipino uses alot of Hispanic or Baroque religious iconography. I remember from my trip in Philippines that Roman Catholic religious art is everywhere over there - a legacy left from 300 or so years of colonisation and Christianization by the Spaniards. He also uses alot of symbols of modern culture as well and mixes them in his works with the Christian symbols to create highly politicized, dark, cynical messages and concepts behind them - creating a confronting surrealist world which reflects our own. He comments on the decadence of American culture, the corruption and abuse of the Catholic Church in Philippines and the notion of white supremacy and submission to white ideology which Filipinos have accepted into their psyche after hundreds of years of being corruptingly controlled by Spanish colonialists and than American colonialists. He deeply explores in his art despite the fact that Filipinos are free from colonial rule - colonialism is still deeply rooted in the Filipino status quo and that Filipinos aren't truly free. Futhermore, Ocampo explores darker and sinister aspects about life, art and anything in general. He is truly an inspiring and genius artist and I believe his art deserves to be commended in his own country where he is virtually unknown but is known internationally.

Even though, Ocampo's art contains a strong anti-religious sentiment, Ocampo maintains residence in his home nation of Philippines - in the poor city of Quezon City.

Billy Woodberry, a Filmmaker in an interview comments on Ocampo work says:
"There was something in his craft that evoked a haunting. His works seemed to portray the fallout of the spiritual damage of the Latin American colonized headspace. I was immediately drawn to the power of it. At the same time, Ocampo was undermining the seriousness of the subject matter with a cheeky, playful, irreverent, rude take on race in America that the art world has always treated as so sacrosanct. On the one hand he was laying down some heavy shamanism and on the other he was undermining it – and all in the same strokes. This was really refreshing for me."
 Do you agree with Woodberry? What do you think of Ocampo's art? Do you think he needs to be commended in his nation of Philippines?
That's all for today folks!
Peace out. Make Art Not War.


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