A meme posted for fun became a serious thing after the defenders and the critics of the artist behind the ‘Female UP Oblation’ displayed at the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman Campus started a debate.
The sculpture created by visual artist Fernand Cacnio received applause from the students of UP, but several netizens noticed the similarity between the ‘Female Oblation’ and ‘Virgins of Apeldoorn’ made by Dutch artist Elisabet Slientra in 2001.
Lei Lois Tolentino Azarcon, posted the two photos together and made a meme about it.
“Can I copy your homework? Sure. Just change it up a bit so it doesn’t look obvious that you copied.” Azarcon captioned.
Embedded from Lei Lois Tolentino Azarcon’s Facebook post.
The post of Azarcon received different reactions from the netizens. Some said that they saw the striking similarity between the sculpture of the Cacnio and Slientra.
But Ferdinand Cacnio, commented on Azarcon’s post and clarified that he didn’t copy the work of Slientra and the UP Female Oblation was a product of his own imagination.
He even showed the table-top version of his artwork that made ten years ago.
Cacnio also said that he only knew about the sculpture of Slientra because of Azarcon’s post.
Several netizens who defended the artist behind the UP Oblation said that the difference between Cacnio and Slientra’s work might be just a coincidence.
Some defenders of Cacnio who mostly students from U.P known for being the warrior of democracy and freedom of expression urged Azarcon to took down or edit the caption of her post, but as of writing, she still didn’t delete her post.
Azarcon explained that she don’t have any intention to ruin the credibility of Cacnio and she only wanted to point out the similarities between the two sculptures.
The situation went more intense when the husband of the Dutch artist behind the Virgins of Apeldoorn commented on Azarcon’s post that Slientra already saw the creation of Cacnio.
Thom Puckey, the husband of Elisabet Slientra released an official statement about the issue.
Puckey said that her wife, believes that Cacnio plagiarized her work that made in 2001.
Hello. I’m Elisabet Stienstra’s husband. Elisabet doesn’t do Facebook herself. She would like it to be known however that she sees Mr. Cacnio’s sculpture as plagiarism. The principle of her work (made in 2001) is to use sculptural conventions to suggest weightlessness. Mr. Cacnio’s sculpture does not only imitate her idea in general terms, but also in specific terms: the long hanging hair, the falling-back head, the outstretched arms, the outstretched body. The similarities are too evident to be coincidental. Plagiarism is still plagiarism even if a few details have been altered.
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