Hallowed Be Thy Name
Raoul “Iggy” Rodriguez
Pen and ink, Acrylic on canvas
- (L to R) 122 x 229 cm, 152 x 235 cm, 122 x 229 cm;
- (Bottom panel) 416 x 46.5 cm;
- Total dimensions when installed: 284.5 x 416 cm
In his work Hallowed Be Thy Name, Rodriguez utilises Christian iconography – a retablo (an altar piece) comprised of a triptych and one horizontal piece at the base. It is a large-scale pen and ink on oil, on canvas, measuring about three meters in height by four meters wide.
The central panel portrays a bulging swine creature swinging on the back of a person whose suffering rests his position of power. His halo of bullets demand reverence through fear as worshippers perform an orgy of adoration. The centre panel is flanked by two other panels: illustrating devotees in grotesque cherubim form, placed as protectors of the realm. The base panel portrays bodies in limbo depicting oppression and sufferance. It is a critique of both the worshipped and the worshipper, and invites the viewer to discover both absurdities.
The artist’s intention is to create a discourse between his tableau of a politically charged theme – and the reverence of religious art of great prominence prevalent in Venice, including the grand setting of Palazzo Mora. It seeks to translate familiar religious imagery into a carnivalesque tableau, ironically, mimicking a familiar invitation to reverence commonly seen in religious art; it will evoke the same holiness and invitation to reverence of religious art prevalent in Venice, but the pen and ink medium will entice the audience to examine details more closely, revealing instead an orgy of the absurd and the grotesque. Historically, and of particular interest to exhibiting artists in Venice is that although the people of the city generally remained orthodox Roman Catholics, the state of Venice was notable for its freedom from religious fanaticism and executed no one for religious heresy during the Counter-Reformation, during the 12th-15th century. This apparent lack of zeal contributed to Venice’s frequent conflicts with the Papacy. It could therefore be considered a privilege to be in Venice and know that one could not be in a more congrous setting to exhibit Rodriguez’s works.
Hallowed Be Thy Name questions the implications of politics, as well as the relevance of religion and history today – and the role it plays in our contemporary lives. It addresses the world audience, its changing value system, and the prevalence of power and brutality today. Ultimately, Iggy’s intention is to invite close examination to the painstaking detail of the pen and ink medium, revealing a sordid world of orgies of the absurd, greed and the grotesque – whilst perhaps reflecting our own conscionable place within that world.
Filipino artist Raoul "Iggy" Rodriguez has continually responded to a tradition of Social Realism and politically-engaged practice in Philippine art. He spent the mid-1990s as a member of UGAT Lahi, an artist collective making works for street and public protests in Manila. By the mid-2000s, Rodriguez’s individual work in painting, drawing and installation started to explore the iconography of oppression and sufferance: centering on the image of the body as an emblem for alienation, a staging ground and aftermath for struggles both material and exi….