From Manila to Palestine
I have to be honest and say that while I have been aware for several years now of the situation facing Philipino immigrants to Canada – particularly those who come to work as migrant workers – I maintain very little knowledge of the history or current political situation in the Philippines itself.
That all changed a little when I had a chance to see a new exhibit at Sablo Kafé, On Movements in Manila, put on by Stefan Christoff (full disclosure: he’s a friend and colleague on several projects). Christoff visited the Philippines in 2007 as a journalist and election observer. The photos he took in and around the capital explore both the intense levels of poverty, but also the community organising and push-back that has developed. The exhibit is timed with a call from the Centre for Philippine Concerns in Montreal (which is co-sponsoring the exhibit) and the International Philippine Election Oberservation Team 2010 call for volunteers to help observe the upcoming 2010 presidential elections. The need for outside observers are clear. There are a large number of reports of military intimidation during the last election, which some believe will only increase this time around. Christoff wrote a two part series on the topic upon his return in 2007 as well. There are also reports of up to 1000 political killings of progressives and leftists in the country since 2001.
The exhibit runs at Sablo (50, St-Zotique East, corner Boul. St-Laurent) until the end of September, and while small is definitely worth seeing; while Christoff is more of a hobbyist photographer, the images in this exhibit are thought provoking and blend artistry while shedding light on violence, repression and movements against it.
I can also hardly mention Christoff without also reminding people that DAM, an incredible Palestinian hip hop ensemble, are coming to Montreal for the next installment of Artists Against Apratheid – the ninth if you can believe it. It’ll be going down on Sept. 28th at Café Campus (57 Prince Aurthur East). Also performing that night will be Montreal Iraqi-Canadian hiphopper the Narcicyst. To give you a little taste of what to expect, here’s Narcy’s latest video…