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Arts & Culture

ART AND OUR EMANCIPATION

It has been almost two years since the pandemic shifted our lives. An era that continues to challenge our daily living, to this day, and pushed some of us to the brink of giving up. No industry or sector was spared by the wrath of the COVID-19 pandemic. People losing their jobs, sources of income are depleted, and industries struggling to stay afloat – trying to sustain their relevance and importance in a time of fear and sorrow.

One particular sector that has been gravely affected by the health crisis is the arts & culture sector. With museums closing down and usual venues to showcase Filipino talents through art indefinitely ceasing operations, there are still some who chose to weather the storm and carry on. Like our healthcare workers and frontliners, they, too, can be considered our modern-day heroes.

Upcycled racing paper on canvas by Jonathan Joven

Art has always been a significant factor in terms of cultivating a nation’s identity. It records our lives and our history. It holds unfiltered truth about our triumphs and defeat. Even if the world stops, art must continue to play its role as a vessel of human civilization. It is our messenger to the future – carrying the reality that may not be found in books and transcriptions.

Rak of Aegis 2021 online concert | Photo from Metroscene Mag

Art is everywhere. Art is anything the artist considers art. In its truest form, it resonates, not only to the creator, but ultimately, to the viewers. When art manages to convey a message that spoken words may fail to deliver, it becomes a masterpiece. It becomes a genuine speaker of reality, truth, and peace. When art portrays reality, it becomes an agent of truth which, then, sets someone free from inauthenticity – giving peace to anyone who dares to see the reality. What you do with it is within your discretion.

Breaking boundaries for continuity.

Mindanao Art logo with Kublai Millan’s Crown of Thorns Photo from Ian Belleza

Despite the pandemic, some of our country’s artists braved the currents to deliver truth and reality through art. With the prohibitions for mass gathering, true to its form, art managed to continue spreading – even reaching more people through virtual museums and galleries. There is also a surge of artists doing commission work on various social media platforms.

Artwork by Leeroy New | Photo by Ara Eugenio for Reportr.world

Some artists devoted their time and effort to use their talents and skills to send a message across the archipelago. Raw, gut-wrenching, and graphic art pieces that bear knowledge, dissent, anger, and other emotions have found their way to more people through technology. They convey the sentiments most of us feel. In the absence of unspoken words, they manage to speak truths, sufferings, and hope – a never-ending verse about what makes us human.

Art is more important than we thought.

Photo from Hersley Casero

Art will outlive us all. It is the very reason why art is so important in our lives. Art will carry our identity and speak of our culture. It will remain to be the source of our spoken and unspoken truths. When we all turn to dust and join our creator, art will live on to let future generations know about who we are, what we had gone through, and what we needed to do to get through everything life has thrown our way. We should learn from our artists; how they never cease to give even when giving is the hardest. Life doesn’t take anything from us when we give. Instead, it makes us fuller and feels needing less.

Salt by Hersley Casero through Manila Bulletin

Art is, and will always be, the purest form of hope. But the other reality is artists depend on us, too. They need our support by advocating for them and supporting their craft. We always believe in the power of collective work and how it is key for our growth and healing. What do we live for, if not to make life less difficult for each other? Only in collective work will we have our best chance to not only survive but also thrive.

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