Sorsoganon artist highlights dislocation, displacement in art exhibit

An art installation entitled "Desplazado" by Sorsoganon artist Geri Matthew Carretero is on display at the Start 101 Gallery in the University of the Philippines, Diliman.

Said installation explores the many ways in which notions of voluntary and forced migrations of people are traced, located and negotiated.

Used clothing, slippers, sleeping mats, drinking cups, original and replicated material objects used by people in their journey during calamities, armed conflicts and environmental threats are arranged on the floor of the gallery which serve as markers of transit and symbolize the movement of people from one place to another. A video highlighting their struggles and experiences is also installed to support the art pieces.

“Some choose to move out from their homes for better opportunities while there are others who are forced to flee due to war, typhoon or famine and some also move because of environmental threats bringing with them a few belongings. In the case of IDPs and migrants, they do not carry many possessions with them and do not have a clear idea of when they may finally go back, and these are the issues I want to present in these works” artist, Geri Matthew Carretero said. Carretero is part of an active community-based art group, Kurit-Lagting based in Sorsogon City and is currently enrolled in the MFA Program of the UP College of Fine Arts, Diliman.

The installation piece also highlights a variety of issues and concerns that represent displaced groups such as the struggle of urban poor communities in Bulacan and Tondo for free housing, the plight of Manicani residents in Eastern Samar as they continue their protest in front of the DENR Central office against open-pit mining, the internal displacement of Maranaos who involuntary fled their city due to war, and the Lumads who are forced to evacuate as military forces search for NPA members and sympathizers in their communities.

“The installation piece is very timely because the identities, experiences and collective memories of the plight of displaced groups and individuals are muted by institutions and those in power. This work will tell their stories about refuge, political and environmental turmoil, territorial struggle, compassion and hope” Carretero further added.

The installation piece along with his sculptural works and prints are part of a class exhibit, "Permutations of Place" under the Master of Fine Arts program of the UPCFA and will be on display until January 12, 2018.