Mobile exhibit depicts Bonifacio’s continuing struggle 150 years after birth
by Rogene Gonzales
CALAMBA CITY, LAGUNA – Artist groups based in Southern Tagalog launched a mobile exhibit last November 4 in honor of the life and struggle of Gat Andres Bonifacio in time for his 150th birthday on November 30.
Spearheaded by the Southern Tagalog Exposure, Artists’ Arrest and the UPLB Zoomout Multimedia Collective, the exhibit named “Locating Bonifacio” seeks to open to the public a glimpse of how Bonifacio is portrayed in contemporary times through various artworks and photographs contributed by various artists and photojournalists.
Vincent Silarde, spokesperson of Artists’ Arrest, stressed the significance of not only remembering Bonifacio’s history, but more so on reliving his ideals for the Filipino people who, at present, are still facing the same problems of inequality and poverty.
“Bonifacio’s revolution for a truly democratic society is still not realized today. With greed and corruption prevalent in the government, landlessness among the peasantry, conditions akin to slavery for workers, and a bleak future for the youth; the memory of the Great Supremo reminds us of the potential we can create once we unite collectively to remove these societal ills,” Silarde said.
The photographs were divided into three categories: places, which included a mural of Bonifacio along an overpass in Diliman, Quezon City painted by graffiti group Gerilya, and monuments captured on a typical day; people, which showed a portraits of individuals named after the hero one of which is premier director Bonifacio Ilagan; and social movements, featuring workers’ protests in Manila, and formations of the clandestine New People’s Army. The exhibit also used recycled materials such as old placards bearing people’s calls for social justice which served as picture frames.
During the opening of Locating Bonifacio at the Cyberzone Activity Center in SM City Calamba; a cultural program was held and attended by the contributors and other artist groups. Artists Inc., a cultural organization based in Los Banos, Laguna, staged a flash performance to the surprise of bystanders of the bustling mall.
In solidarity, Julie Po, visual artist and head convenor of the Bonifacio 150 Committee, connected the Katipuneros staunch principles that should inspire us to persevere in our call to abolish the pork barrel system. Drew Arante, union organizer and spokesperson of Makabagong Bonifacio, slammed the worsening condition of workers imposed both the government and foreign corporations with low wages and contractualization. “These were similar settings that fueled a revolution more than a century ago,” he added.
Meanwhile, U.P. Los Banos student and Bonifacio 150 Youth Alliance spokesperson Papat Catriz called for the youth to emulate Bonifacio, in principle and in action, in order to ensure a better future for the next generation of Filipinos.
In the following weeks, Locating Bonifacio will be showcased in different universities including similar cultural performances at De La Salle University – Dasmarinas, Polytechnic University of the Philippines – Sta. Mesa, U.P. Los Baños, San Juan de Letran Calamba as well as the plaza in Sta. Rosa City, Laguna.
“Bonifacio’s struggle is very much alive today, and we hope that more people will come to realize that the only way to truly honor him is for us to take up the challenge for social change,” Silarde ended. #