‘Against the Current’ – a timely art exhibit

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‘Continuing Revolution’ by Leonilo Doloricon, rubbercut print on paper (1998)

A very timely art exhibit opened at the vMeme Contemporary Art Gallery in Visayas Avenue, Quezon City, which delves into the social conditions of the Philippines throughout history.

Organized by CreatingSPACE Inc. (Creating Sustainable Practices in Artistic and Cultural Endeavors Inc.), the show is titled Against the Current: Contemporary Social Realist Art in the Philippines and gathers seasoned and emerging Filipino artists from different fields of practice.

Bearing a character that is social and political, Philippine Social Realism (SR) stemmed from particular moments in the country’s history founded on conflicts and struggles. From the late 19th century propaganda movement continuing to the 20th century with the American Occupation, the Commonwealth and the Second World War, and the Marcos era in the ‘70s and ‘80s where it is closely tied to, Social Realist works have come to mark the social, political and economic circumstances of the times when they were created.

Defined by Alice Guillermo as “art which exposes the true conditions of society, as based on the artist’s keen observations of reality and proffers alternatives for human betterment,” SR works in principle are always contemporary, articulating realities of the moments they were conceived from, espousing aspirations for change.


Against the Current continues this tradition and brings together artists and works conveying recurring Philippine social problems of poverty, gender, race, identity, human rights violations, diaspora and also present issues of virtual violence, trauma, including space and the environment.

Featuring the works of Ali Aldaba, Cris Antonio, Adjani Arumpac, Pablo Baen Santos, Buen Caluba-yan, Caña, Urai Carlos, Rene Cuvos, Crisanto De Leon, Boyet De Mesa, Ferdinand Doctolero, Neil Dolo-ricon, Crown Dolot, Federico Dominguez, JethroEcal, Jeffrey Erencio, Avie Felix, Resty Flores, Alee Garibay, Nina Garibay, Jonathan Joven, DibaynLeaño, Little Wing Luna, Vim Nadera, Renan Ortiz, J Pacena 2nd, Nawruz Paguidopon, Ernie Patricio, Paul Val Peña, Marcelo Quezon, Alma Quinto, Iggy Rodriguez, Jose Tence Ruiz, Don Salubayba, Jo Santos, Kermit Tesoro, Jake Vamenta, Francisco Verano and Veejay Villafranca, the exhibit is an exploration of Social Realism in contemporary times, showing a spectrum of forms, subjects and media. It attempts to trace and locate SR now while at the same time provide space for inquiries and discourses on how SR has come to be viewed in the present and perhaps hint to its future.

CreatingSPACE Inc. is a non-stock, non-profit organization founded by a group of artists, educators and cultural workers for the public interest of creating sustainable initiatives. It spearheads various programs that aim to develop critical practices in culture and arts whichat the same time address the needs of underserved communities.

Against the Current is also aimed to raise funds for TuKLASan Center, a shelter for street children, and Free RenanteGamara Movement.

The exhibit runs until September 28. For more information, log on to www.vmemecontemporary.com or www.creatingspaceinc.wordpress.com.

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