Art is political

Translation: “If you are not enraged, you are not informed.” – quote from Griffin Thomas/Reed Germain

In a previous post, I talked about finding a place for my art. This is one of the answers I came up with: art as an expression of my dissent on gross government incompetence.

I used to not be too outspoken about my politics because it is such a polarizing topic, hence I also avoid using it as a subject for my drawings as much as possible. But I realized recently that art has always been political. This is evident in the colorful and creative signs held up during marches or protests, to works as gallery-worthy as Juan Luna’s 1884 masterpiece, Spoliarium (a very political painting depicting injustice done to the masses by people in power).

The world is currently battling a global pandemic, and country leaders are given a huge task of making their moves with no precedent, no prior experience to draw upon. We are not asking for perfection, but accountability. And we want to hear from the government more concrete steps than repeatedly being told to “stay at home” and “wash your hands.”

Since nCov blew in Italy, the Philippines had a couple of months to prepare before we recorded our first nCov case. For a pandemic like this, time is of the essence. Sense of urgency is a must. But what did our clown president and his minions do? Nothing except kiss each others’ asses:

Duterte made the assurance after he praised the Department of Health led by Secretary Francisco Duque III for its “prompt and efficient response” as well as allaying public fears over the virus.

“The national government remains to be on top of the threat of the coronavirus. We are prepared to handle this public health emergency in case the worst scenario happens.”

GMA News Online, February 10, 2020

Today, we have the highest number of cases in ASEAN and the only Southeast Asian country with more deaths than recoveries because our clown president chose to empower the military more than our health system. He was granted at least PHP 200 billion funding via emergency powers — a mere two days after he requested it — through a legislation so fucking questionable, it included provisions like “the government can take over private institutions” and “if any parts of this bill is in conflict with existing laws, this bill will prevail.” Social media backlash forced the senators to drop the former.

Less than two weeks after the emergency powers were granted, we were told on a national address that the money is gone, without saying where it went.

So yes, you can imagine that a lot of Filipinos are angry, including me. Ergo, I made art to show my anger. And it felt empowering, because I’m doing my own small bit for a cause bigger than myself.

I hope we all make it through this. And when we do, let’s not forget the ones who fucked up, and hold them accountable.

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