CURATOR’S NOTES: Handuraw Marawi: Bearing witness to war

By Leonardo Rey Cariño

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 30 Nov) – The modern age is accustomed to graphic images of war. From Francisco Goya’s series of etchings The disasters of War to Picasso’s Guernica, art has the ability to profoundly shock and disturb. Art in the recent century has portrayed war and the drama of perverse human suffering in the midst of contrasting ideals on why and how war was staged and waged.

Handuraw Marawi – a Mission Exhibit offers images of war in a multimedia art exhibit about the Marawi siege and the collective efforts of the university for the purpose of educating the community as regards the recent crisis that proves the fervent aspiration for peace in Mindanao. The concept of this component activity of the Mindanao Week of Peace Celebration as an initiative of the Xavier Center for Culture and the arts was developed by Mr. Hobart Savior.

Photojournalist Froilan Gallardo (right) and artist Nicolas Aca stand beside Gallardo’s photo of two soldiers walking amid the devastation in Marawi City on Wednesday (29 November 2017). The image was among the photos presented during the “Handuraw Marawi” multi-media exhibit at the Museo de Oro, Xavier University in Cagayan de Oro City. The exhibit will run until February 2018. Photo courtesy of Museo de Oro

This exhibit features the works of Froilan Gallardo, Bobby Lagsa, Kublai Millan, Oscar Floirendo, Robert de la Serna and Bing Cariño interfaced to dialogue among each other sharing each perception in bearing witness to a war in a variety of points of view, that to the audience, they become imagined, idealized, or just plain witness to the unfoldings of the war. Majority of the images are by Mr. Froilan Gallardo, Mr. Bobby Lagsa and by the documenters of the Social Development Cluster’s Tabang Marawi. These photographers have spent time documenting the crisis in Marawi City.

There are six component art projects and collaborations in this exhibit.

Froilan Gallardo’s documentation of the exodus and repatriation of the locals when the siege ended opens and ends the Handuraw gallery tour. Projected on the walls literally block the entrance and exits to/from the gallery. The photo in video installation begins and completes the Handuraw experience.

Hasuna Macla’s Hasna’s Pilgrimage is reworked to present the photographs taken by Marawi residents in the course of the siege.

Handuraw Marawi is a curated photo montage-essay featuring the photographs of Froilan Gallardo and Bobby Lagsa.

Bomb of creation by Mr Oscar Floirendo (Museo de Oro’s Assistant Curator) is a work mounted on the floor with photographs by Froilan Gallardo and videos by Bobby Lagsa on the Marawi siege. In the Gallery Hallway, are installations of his bombs dialoguing with Bobby Lagsa’s works.

Authentic News vs Fake News is an interactive social media experiment installation work by Bing Carino with a select image depicting the destruction of Marawi by Froilan Gallardo. A photo collection of the social development cluster is saved for uploading on social media.

Kublai Millan’s Mindana(once) series are multimedia paintings using archival photos of Mindanao “once.” This offers a “looking back” mechanism on how Marawi looked in its glory days.

Boxes is a mixed media installation art that exposes the relief, psycho-social interventions, medical mission and sustainable agriculture training of Xavier Ateneo thru its Social Development Cluster. Inside the boxes are monitors displaying the photographs and videos of the SD efforts. In the installation are samples of relief goods and materials.

Gyera is a cinematheque where the moving images captured and filmed by Bobby Lagsa will be projected introspecting the experiences of the war and the hopes for a better tomorrow for Marawi and its people.

Handuraw Marawi – a Mission Exhibit is a reflective exposition of what has been in Marawi in its glorious past and on what it has become right now due to the siege which in most cases brought varied significant questions as regards societal, political, developmental, economic and physical implications. This exhibit evokes responses that will allow us become more responsible Mindanaoans in particular and as Filipinos in general.

(Leonardo Rey Cariño is curator at the Museo de Oro, Xavier University in Cagayan de Oro City, venue of “Handuraw Marawi,” a multi-media exhibit that will run from December 1 to February 2018.)