About the Event
“This is not us.” Perplexed with the seemingly new norms in our midst, artist and University of the Philippines Fine Arts professor Marco Ruben T. Malto II presents his solo exhibit, “Kahimanawari,” and offers a timely contribution to vital discourses on Filipino virtues.
Malto contemplates our country in chaos with our people divided. He sees some of his fellow Filipinos take a stand as others choose to remain silent, and resilient. He finds the apathy toward the nation’s growing disconnect from what is right and good alarming: it defies the very heart of what makes us truly Filipinos. Be it apathy or Filipino resiliency, Malto maintains now is not the time to stand back and be silent. The brave Marites Vitug aptly puts it into words, “... it’s an unsettling feeling that core values are being torn apart, that our public lives have been downhill for some time.” This trailblazing journalist notes the missing complete sentences whenever President Duterte speaks, which to her is a minor detail compared to “what we’re missing and gradually losing, day after day, year after year: the civility in our mores, the primacy of public interest.” Vitug points to the root of the problem: “The President himself has set the tone to erode the values of civility and respect in our public lives. We’re gradually losing these strands that have been keeping our national fabric intact.”
When the “popular” leader of a devoted Catholic nation rants against God, spews profanities against his critics, and rambles disrespectful remarks about women each time he opens his mouth in public, he makes vulgarity acceptable, and viciousness “the new normal”. When a “highly-trusted” public official messes with our morals with his venomous attacks, chilling directives, inconsistent pronouncements and increasing incompetence to govern a crisis-battered economy, how do Filipinos cope?
We wade through life’s adversities armed with faith-- in our spirituality, in ourselves, in our chosen leaders, in the daily game shows, in the Ultra Lotto, or in the “Unli” promos for texts, calls and social media. When things fall apart, we dare to dream the impossible and sigh kahimanawari. In the old days, Filipinos would express kahimanawari whenever they would wish for fate to favor them. Thinking that by simply saying so, kahimanawari would reverse the course of the universe and make things happen according to their hearts’ desires. An archaic Filipino word, kahimanawari or “kahit man lang kung maaari” speaks of the unwavering Filipino faith in the darkest of times.
Malto acknowledges and draws on the wealth of the material culture reflected through images of Philippine history and current events. By appropriating and referencing familiar images based on history, current events and popular culture, the artist is able to cohere theory and imagery through his works. In capturing the interplay between current national issues and the nuances of Filipino mores, Malto’s “Kahimanawari” provides the public a platform for information and reflection on some of the country’s most crucial concerns.
“Kahimanawari” opens on Sunday, 18 November 2018 4pm-7pm at Sining Kamalig Art Gallery, Upper Ground Floor, Ali Mall, Araneta Center, Quezon City. The exhibit runs until 7 December 2018. Gallery hours are from 10am to 7pm, daily.