A visual artist and alumnus of the University of the Philippines-Diliman defended his work against bashers who accused him of plagiarism.
Fernando Cacnio said his sculpture, “UPLift”, was not copied from Elisabet Bea Stienstra’s “Virgins of the Apeldoorn”, which features three statues of women floating at a park in The Netherlands.
“To all those [who are]asking questions: I have never seen nor heard of Ms. Stienstra or her work. Hindi ko sya kilala (I don’t know her). We’ve never been to the Netherlands,” Cacnio posted on his Facebook account.
The brass sculpture, touted as the female version of the university’s iconic Oblation, will be unveiled formally in July, but as soon as Cacnio released its photos on his social media account last Friday, he was immediately deluged with hate messages from netizens.
“I was not inspired by her, I did not model my work after hers. I am not guilty of plagiarizing or copying her work, ‘Virgins of Apeldoorn.’ UPLift is my own creation,” he said.
Cacnio said it took 10 years before his creation became a reality. “UPLift” will be donated by his batch, 1985, to the university where Cacnio studied psychology and civil engineering.
His wife, Bing Castro Cacnio, also defended UPLift through her Facebook account.
“Those of you who accuse him [Fernando] of plagiarism should do your research. Find out his training, interests, aesthetics, and other aspects of his background, and more importantly, his character.” She said.
“If you would only do a review of how his artworks have developed over the years, you would not be quick to think the worst,” she added.
Displayed in front of the UP Theater, Cacnio said UPLift symbolized honor and excellence. Although “UPLift” has become controversial, the conversations and discussions on it have given the university a lift.