A painting which depicts the likeness of Pope Francis, surrounded by popular local celebrities and politicians, set in rural scenery is receiving much flack from both the online and the art communities.
The 29×24 oil on canvas entitled “Salubong” was painted by renowned artist Dante Hipolito. In the painting, the Pope is shown in a barrio or provincial setting, surrounded by the likes of Marian Rivera, Dingdong Dantes, Vilma Santos, Gary Valenciano, Kris Aquino, Coco Martin, Sen. Grace Poe, among others, all dressed as farmers harvesting prodiuce.
The image of the painting has gone viral on social media, and has earned the ire of countless netizens. Many have criticized the work as tacky, laughable, and a far cry from all that Pope Francis represents and stands for.
Likewise, the Kabataang Artista para sa Tunay na Kalayaan (Karatula), a group of forward-thinking artsist, has sharply criticized the painting.
“The painting contradicts the concept of realism as it shows nothing about the submerged reality of the nation’s agricultural workers,” Michael Beltran, chairperson of Karatula, said.
Beltran added that the painting is “unreflective of the turmoil that many Filipinos experience in their social and economic lives.
“Mockery strikes deeper with Kris Aquino, who benefits from the oppressed farmers at Hacienda Luisita,” Beltran added; as he noted that the painting shows the Pope a very warped image of the country’s real agricultural conditions.
“Undoubtedly the Aquino administration would welcome such a painting as ‘Salubong’ as it omits the unpopular and unjust policies of his term,” he pointed out.
“We hope the Pope’s visit will be a fruitful one. He was shown to be the most politically and culturally astute representative of the Church in recent years. We welcome him for his biases toward the poor and oppressed, and invite him to confront injustices alongside Filipinos,” Beltran said.
As of Monday, the photo of the painting had been shared nearly 3,000 times from a Facebook fan page of actress Marian Rivera.