Paradise Open to All (Paraiso Abierto a Todos)

ArtistManuel Ocampo
Mediumacrylic and collage on canvas
Year of acquisition1998
Collection no.1082
ExplanationManuel Ocampo frequently adopts themes and styles of Catholic art which took roots in the Philippines under Spanish colonization, with methods similar to graffitis or like vulgar comics of America. Instead of saints or scenes of salvation, however, he paints pictures of the hell in which negative historical legacies such as colonialism and racial discrimination are grotesquely mixed with the mass culture of contemporary cities. The odious cockroach acting as Jesus Christ standing in the center, the emblem of the eagle and the swastika reminding us of the Nazis, and drinking – these immoral images all appeal for the salvation of 'all creatures,' yet they in fact expose the power and violence of European culture which continues to reject immigrants and to dominate the Third World. His work goes beyond treating issues of specific regions or cultures, and can be described as an epitome of the present-day multi-cultural world where different cultures must co-exist even in confrontation.