Publikhaan: Making Human Rights
Tutok Karapatan (TutoK), a group of
artists advocating human rights, will hold a series of upcoming art events
starting this month, tackling the spate of extra-judicial killings in the
Philippines. TutoK was formed late last year as a response to what the
group described as the “deteriorating” human rights situation in the
BY ALEXANDER MARTIN REMOLLINO
artist Jeho Bitancor came out of a room dressed in dark glasses, slacks
and a long-sleeved shirt with necktie. Threatening to burst out from under
his shirt, making him look like a heavy-built underworld ninong
(godfather), were various objects he had stuffed under it.
He stood by
a table and took out from under his shirt a loaf of bread. He next took
out a glass object that looked like the top of a cathedral’s steeple. He
inverted the glass object and inserted the cross into the bread. He then
filled the part of the glass object sticking out with cream. He sipped
some and then spit it out, letting it drip over his necktie and shirt.
He took out
three apples from under his shirt, and then a plastic doll resembling a
baby. With a hammer he also took out from under his shirt, he bored a hole
into the doll’s abdomen, stuffed the apples into it, and then crushed them
with the hammer. The doll now looked like a bloated and disemboweled
corpse of an infant.
the doll into a plastic bag which he hanged with a string from his neck.
the string was a tag on one side of which read “kapayapaan”
(peace), and on the other side read “demokrasya” (democracy).
performance was the finale in a press conference held by Tutok Karapatan (TutoK)
last Nov. 7 at the Newsdesk Cafe in Quezon City. TutoK held the press
conference to announce a series of art events tackling human rights
starting this month to April next year.
formed late last year as a response to what the group described as the
“deteriorating” human rights situation in the country.
Based on data from Karapatan (Alliance for the Advancement of People’s
Rights), there have been 780 victims of extra-judicial killings under the
Arroyo regime from January 2001 to Nov. 11, 2006. Of this number, 339 are
with known political affiliations.
The idea for TutoK came up in November last year during a workshop among
artists on women, art and healing at Sambalikhaan, Quezon City. In an open
forum held after a discussion on the human rights situation in the
country, a number of the participants talked about a plan to pay tribute
to the victims of extra-judicial killings through a series of portraits.
“This is an artists’ initiative,” explained TutoK project director Karen
Ocampo-Flores, a painter, during the press conference. “The art events are
to be financed mainly with our group’s own funds, which we raised by
selling artworks last year.”
Garibay and Jose Tence Ruiz are the group’s chairman and adviser,
members of the group’s steering committee aside from Flores are: Ruel
Caasi, Mideo Cruz, Noel Cuizon, Boy Dominguez, Racquel de Loyola, Cap
Reyes, Raoul “Iggy” Rodriguez, Wire Tuazon, Ramon “Chitoy” Zapata, Mike
Muñoz, Noell El Farol, Ferdie Montemayor, Alfredo Juan Aquilizan, writers
Lisa Ito and Richard Gappi, and Arlene Brosas of the Musicians for Peace.
event to be held by TutoK for this year is Publikhaan: Making Human
Rights Issues Public, a partnership with the Neo-Angono Artists
Collective which spearheads the activity. In this event, TutoK integrates
with the third Neo-Angono Public Art Festival, to be held Nov. 16-22.
Participating groups in Publikhaan are Kaktus, Linangan ng Imahen,
Retorika at Anyo (LIRA), Kalipunan ng Sining at Kultura ng Pasig,
Kilometer 64, New World Disorder, Ugatlahi, Komikera, Anino Shadowplay
Collective, Sto. Niño Choir, Surrounded by Water, Ideas, Tandang Juancho
Museum and the University of Rizal System.
event would be Perspektiba, a series of exhibits on the political
killings. Curated by Cruz, it will open at the Beato Angelico Gallery,
University of Santo Tomas (UST) on Nov. 21 with a live installation by
Bitancor. The exhibit will run at UST until Dec. 2. As part of the
Perspektiba-UST event, TutoK will hold a forum in the afternoon on
Nov. 29, with multi-awarded novelist Jun Cruz Reyes as the main speaker.
At night that same day, there will be performances by artists Jose Tence
Ruiz, Jef Carnay, and Cos Zicarelli; and award-winning poets Roberto
Ofanda Umil and Angelo Suarez.
participating artists in the Perspektiba UST exhibit are painters
Antipas Delotavo, Boy Dominguez, Gene de Loyola, and Manny Garibay; multi
media artist Claro Ramirez, Lyra Garcellanno, Don Salubayba, Ed Manalo,
Benjo Elayda, Mark Ramsel Salvatus III and Buen Calubayan; and art groups
Anting anting and UGATLahi.
Perspektiba series of exhibits will next run at St. Scholastica’s
College in January next year, and at the University of the Philippines
(UP) in Diliman, Quezon City in February.
Dos por Dos
TutoK will hold Dos por Dos, an exhibit of 2 x 2 works in media at
the Boston Art Gallery in Cubao, Quezon City. It will be curated by
Montemayor, Garibay, Farol and Caasi. Dos por Dos will run Dec. 2-30.
next year, TutoK will hold Pasang Masid at the Cultural Center of
the Philippines (CCP). The group describes the project as “a critical and
historical overview of a national cultural institution and aims to
illustrate the CCP’s peculiar role as a cultural instrument of the state
and as venue for artistic excellence.” Selections from the CCP art
collection will be exhibited side by side with current works, photos and
artifacts from TutoK artists. Dos por Dos will be TutoK’s project for
National Arts Month next year.
secretary-general Marie Hilao Enriquez expressed support for TutoK at the
Nov. 7 press conference.
this effort because art has a way of capturing the imagination of people
and arousing interest in them,” Enriquez said.
“It must be
remembered that artists and cultural workers played a major role in
awakening our people to assert our rights and fight for basic freedoms and
democracy under the dark years of martial law,” Enriquez, herself a victim
of human rights violations during the martial law years, also said. “Now,
that there are attempts to bring back the dark days of the dictatorship
and in the wake of unabated killings and disappearances, our nationalist
artists are once again rising up to the occasion of being with the
people’s side.” Bulatlat
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© 2006 Bulatlat
Alipato Media Center
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