The title alludes to the Biblical Genesis, where Cain was exiled by God after he had murdered his brother Abel. As well, the title adverts to our country, recalling National Hero Jose Rizal’s “Last Farewell” addressing the Philippines as “Pearl of the Orient, our Eden lost.”
The art of Otto Neri bristles with astute and sardonic commentaries on the present-day social, economic, and geo-political problems of the country, ascribing our contemporary ills to the damaged culture wrought by foreign invaders and colonizers, not least being the current seriously contentious and alarming situation in the West Philippine Sea, depicted in the artist’s “Tricked or Treat” and “The Terra Cotta Soldiers.”
Among the other prickly issues that engage the artist’s attention are the plight of our overseas workers (“MgaBayani Noon at Ngayon”, the escapist Hollywood entertainment serving as the opium of the people “Lalaland”), the unresolved historical guilt of our heroes, their hands stained by the blood of treachery and deceit (“Elephants in the Room”), and the loss of our innocence(“Si Aida, si Lorna at si Fe”).
By his own admission, Otto Neri considers his art as his own personal crusade in order to re-engineer our twisted and confused sense of national identity by haranguing our past and present leaders who continue to lead the country astray, unconscionably leading the Filipinos into the sure road to perdition.