TIRA-TIRA: shots, sweets, and scraps is a curatorial experiment featuring artists from various parts of the country and the world in celebration of the Philippine Human Rights Festival 2018.

Tira-tira, comparable to many Filipino words, connote multiple meanings. Likewise, the duplication of a Filipino word provides additional layers of context and meaning to a term being used. Written and/or spoken, a repeated word would presumably increase its gravity. As if when we repeat, we make a point. As if when we reiterate, we bestow impact. Or is it just a lack of explanation about matters so absurd that we are bound by circumstances where we need to repeat, we need to reiterate, and we need to articulate over and over again? Tira-tira? What is it? How do we even pronounce it?

Shots? Sweets? Scraps? Oh. The plurality of its meaning. The intersectionality of the term. The gamut of that word. Sige, deep! Tira! Eh kung gumamit ka kaya ng sarili mo’ng wika? Daming kuda. Ano’ng pinagsasabi mo’ng tira-tira?

Tira-tira ni Angely Chi, “Karon nga ang bata ningdako na og woke na sa kung asa gikan ang raw ingredient sa gimahal na childhood treat na tira-tira, na ang asukal kay na-produce tungod sa forced and underpaid labor sa mga plantasyon na wala gasunod og ethical labour practices makapangutana gayud na 'Ka-ironic no?'. Ironic na kining tam-is na candy kay produkto sa kapait sa kinabuhi sa uban. Kung kaonon nimo ang tira-tira karon samtang gatan-aw kag mga imahe sa mga trabahante sa sugar plantations, unsa imong matilawan, tam-is o pait?”

Tira-tira ni Rhine Bernardino, “There’s false hope in the belief that perhaps if you hit a large enough amount of objects, irrespective of its proximity or relevance to the main target, it can somehow magically become equivalent to hitting the target itself. Who knows? Playing games can be tricky because the rules can always change. More importantly, who cares? It’s all just a game. You want to play? Pick a weapon of choice and aim, tira lang ng tira, kahit ano, kahit saan, kahit sino, basta. Not your cup of tea? Ok, shut up ka na lang.”Tirá-tirá ni Ralph Eya, “Mula sa oras, espasyo, at kaalaman. Mula sa pagkain, damit, bahay, lupa, at karaniwang mga kasangkapan, may tirá-tirá ko. May tirá-tirá mo. May tirá-tirá niya. At kung ano ang mayroon ay ang ilan daang milyong tayo – maglalayon ng totoo, mag-aambag sa paglaganap ng bawat puwang, at mag-iiwan ng bakas na maituturing na patunay sa malikhaing pagkilos ng bawat tao.”

Various points in various ways. Various forms in various aims. Are we unifying or are we further dividing? Are we building or are we destroying? In a contemporary state surrounded by issues contributory to life desecration, from the fundamental value of (dis)honesty that leads to widespread misinformation up to the complexities of neocolonialism, fascism, democracy, to basic human rights and dignity, would our ostensibly isolated artistic lives and a sanitized art exhibition contribute to (re)forming our nation? We would love to believe, Tira-tira as a curatorial experiment is not just another attempt to play or even wordplay. We’d like to live and continue the discussion. We’d like to hit it hard, but then again, it hits us back. And it just hits home.

Ikaw, ano’ng kuda mo? Tayo ba ay magtitirahan o gagawa tayo ng isang tirahan?