"Abstract" 48" x 48" Oil on Canvas 2007 SOLD


Being one of the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ 13 Young Artists for 2009 seems to have done little to change Buen Calubayan’s attitude about the world. If there’s anything distinctly different about Buen, it is the fact that he has no artist complex.

Not even when we talked about a rebellious streak, as shown by his run-in with the Catholic university, where he graduated and taught. He said the authorities complained about his “open display of distorted ideas and atheistic beliefs.” In the ideal academic world, his works would be appreciated as brave depictions of how some sectors would imagine religion and religiosity in contemporary times.

It is difficult, after all, to watch a trail of live rats vis-a-vis a huge depiction of a sneering Pope Ratzinger. Faced with images of Jesus Christ as human being—getting drunk and vomiting, in a gas mask in the context of war—it is difficult as an audience not to react, religious or atheist. In this sense, and in this way, Buen’s work remains most powerful.


    left Calceta, Xander Chun, Clarence arrowright

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