Pablo Baen Santos’ aesthetics of activism

If in a rare moment of clarity, our current leader (She Who Shall Not Be Named) decided to hang a Pablo Baen Santos painting in the Palace, it would be like Clytemnestra putting up a poster of Electra in her parlor, or the Queen Mother Alien admiring Sigourney Weaver with a Giger blaster. Hang for example Baen’s “Queen Kong,” which depicts a short simian woman lording over her banana republic. (Here’s a non sequitur about bananas: Didn’t Mark Lapid say with much camp those immortal lines in a forgettable flick of his: “Saging lang ang may puso!” Huh, may ganoon?) How would her political sycophants react to Baen’s paintings that unflinchingly detail social iniquities? Would they vomit all over their caviar, gargantuan steaks, and obscenely expensive wines and start counting their money in a hurry? Or order their henchmen to crank up to 11 their truncheons aimed at student protesters? Or say something that would embarrass even Marie Antoinette: “They don’t have rice? Let them eat Beluga.”

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