I had written a pretty good blog post about the first time I used “Save the Savages”, but then I deleted it. Like I said – I’m insane, I know. I realize now that I keep redoing this blog/website of mine because the past versions of myself no longer align with my present self.
The first time I used “Save the Savages” was for a painting I did back in 2007. This is a painting of the Santo Niño (Baby Jesus, Holy Child, etc) which is an iconic religious figure in the Philippines. When I lived in the Philippines, I remember as a kid that this statue was in the house. It was creepy – androgynous-looking actually, and I didn’t know why it was there.
And as I got older in my early twenties, I met some conscious friends here in the US. Friends who told me that things are not as they seem. I learned about history and oppression of indigenous peoples, including Filipinos. That the Spaniards put those religious systems into place.
And so I named this painting “Save the Savages” – because that’s what I got out of it. Throughout history, indigenous people are often perceived and treated as savages, because they don’t fit the mold of modern society. So those who have the power feel that they need to “save” or convert these people, force them to believe in a Catholic / Christian God, etc.
Oddly enough this painting sold. Regardless of your personal interpretations on the art you create, people still identify with a religious icon in their own personal way – it must’ve meant something to the buyer.