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ARTISTS PUSH BACK: Youth Artists Fight Historical Revisionism on Marcos Dictatorship

This year marks the 49th anniversary of Ferdinand Marcos proclaiming martial law, subjecting the entire Philippines under a dictatorship that plundered our coffers, led the country’s economy to a downward spiral, and killed and tortured thousands.

Artwork by Marx Fidel

And yet, many still believe that that time marked a “golden age” for the Philippines. What’s worse, the Marcos family members have clinched seats in the government — like their family wasn’t responsible in one of the darkest periods in Philippine history. The matriarch, Imelda, became congresswoman in different terms. The daughter, Imee, is currently a senator. Lastly, the son, Bongbong, is vying for the presidency in next year’s elections.

To push back against the historical revisionism on the Marcos dictatorship and Martial Law, We The Future PH, through its cultural arm Artist Kolektib, organized a series of art projects launched during the anniversary of the proclamation of Martial Law last September 21 and 23.

With the intention of breaking through echo chambers on which fake news and manipulative propaganda to disinform fester, the projects aim to disrupt by trying to surprise the unsuspecting public via a secret art show, presenting Martial Law evils-depicting artwork via a map project, and sharing of the first hand telling of the Martial victims’ stories via a testimonial video.

The art show, called the "Super Duper Secret Art Show", is an online art show that demonstrates what many artists feel about Martial Law, the Marcos Regime, and the Marcoses themselves.

Thematically “click-baity,” the art show is “secret” in that it is only accessible via scanning QR codes that are posted on social media and printed on stickers posted in many places in the Philippines.

Meanwhile, "Ang Kabalintunaan ng ‘70" is the map project that created and installed a series of framed artworks to highlight the edifice complex of the Marcos regime.

Set up during the Martial Law protests at the Liwasang Bonifacio last September 21, the installation consisted of maps of popular structures the Marcoses built, but the sites were covered by red cutouts in the shape of torture methods used during Martial Law. The contrasting elements aim to show that although the Marcos regime was deemed as a falsely “golden age” for some, the injustices cannot and will not be overlooked.

Lastly, the testimonial video, called "mga kwentong batas militar na pwedeng pag- aralan/alalahanin", is an animated video with real-life narrations of the victims of Martial Law.

The video aims to highlight the gruesome experiences of those who fought for justice during the Marcos regime while also counteracting the historical revisionism circulating on social media pushed by pro-Marcos groups. Presented like the popular lo-fi girl playlist on Youtube and with vintage typewriter themes, the video also appeals to the youth with a note to tell them to keep fighting for Filipino rights.

The full video can be watched on We The Future PH’s Facebook page.

We The Future PH’s cultural arm, the Artist Kolektib, is a small community of artists with varying artforms and mediums coming from different backgrounds and advocacies. With the belief that artists are in the best position to influence and change public opinion, Artist Kolektib was formed to answer the growing need for artistic and creative intervention on many political and socio-political happenings in the country.

We The Future PH is a network of Filipino youth working towards a future where human rights, freedom, and democracy are upheld and celebrated in the Philippines.

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