UP Vargas Museum, Quezon City, Philippines
Looking for Juan Outdoor Banner Project presentation of CANVAS Center for Art, New Ventures and Sustainable Development featuring works from more than 60 artists reflecting on the theme of human rights
According to the United Nations, "Human rights are inherent to all human beings." This is regardless of our nationality, place of residence, color, creed, language, sex, economic status, or any other status.
"Rights" is not a foreign concept. It is, in fact, embedded in our own Filipino language: karapatan, with its root lying in dapat or in what should be, what is right, or what must be. These rights, therefore, recognize each individual’s dignity and value as human beings.
On the contrary, "To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity," Nelson Mandela once said. These rights are protected and promoted by the law: our right to life, liberty, and security; political rights including freedom from torture and slavery, cruel or degrading treatment or punishment; and the right to seek judicial remedy.
And yet, these days, people can say that human rights can be cast away in favor of certain "higher" goals, such as peace and security, the elimination of drugs, criminality, and terrorism.
To take a cue from John Berger who reflects on a Vietnam war photo by photographer Donald McCullin, we might argue that some of the images and ideas in this exhibit "remind us shockingly of the reality, the lived reality, behind the abstractions of political theory, casualty statistics or news bulletins." And so we see through the eyes of the artists participating here – things that we perhaps have not seen, refuse to know, or choose to forget or ignore.
May tama ang digma. May tama ang bata.
May tama ang lupa. May tama ang bansa.
May tama ang pinuno,
may tama ang mga tao.
May tama tayong lahat sa ulo.
Every shot fired is a shot at our rights.
Every shot chooses no age, no gender, no race.
How many more shots can we take?