This exhibition is the second leg of a roadshow visual campaign initiated by Banta Artist Initiative, a network of artists committed to an advocacy of upholding human rights, life and dignity as stipulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Through a variety of creative expressions, the collective aims to place art at the center of national life and confront pressing issues gripping the nation today. United I the belief that artistic integrity and expression can only be fostered n an atmosphere of freedom, the Banta Artist Initiative stresses the role of the artists as a watchdog and major defender of human dignity, not just a passive observer creating art in isolation from the complexities of its context.
He works draw from resonant themes in the current political landscape; the culture of violence and impunity, poverty, criticisms about law enforcement and justice system. The media, imagery and approaches are equally broad-ranging, traversing thee playful and passionate to the haunting and disturbing.
Not withstanding political sensitivities or affiliations that the exhibition may trigger, this gathering of works across generations of artists feature fine examples of political art and protest art, defined by renowned Filipino art historian and critic Alice Guillermo as:
“Political art bears a context touching upon the prevailing political/economic system. Relative to this, political art takes oppositional stance towards the system by exposing its ills and advocating change on one hand, or by simply reflecting or even supporting the system on the other hand.”
“Protest art sets itself against the prevailing social, political, and economic conditions. It is an art which is primarily one of exposure, showing striking images of the inequitable, unjust, and inhuman conditions in which people live.”
Above all, the exhibition highlights the more crucial role of art in society as vehicles for social critique and instruments to sustain the lively discourse on the improvement of the human condition, not just decors or veneers to mask reality through a facade of the ideal.