How local artists banded together and moved to provide aid for the victims of Typhoon Odette
If there is one thing I admire about Filipino artists, it is their generous soul.
Filipino artists are talented. That is already a given. But their ability to embrace their community while using their talents to give and share is truly commendable.
Simply saying that the COVID-19 pandemic has devastating social and economic effects on the art and cultural sector is an understatement. Since most of the artists and creative professionals are self-employed, they are among those who are hit the hardest by the crisis.
Based on the Philippine Statistics Authority report in 2020, arts was the top sub-sector with the largest drop in employment, about 73 percent. The National Live Events Coalition reported that there were over 400,000 jobs lost, with approximately P133 billion losses. Enumerating the stats certainly doesn’t paint the whole picture.
Artists are yet to return to the stage and galleries, and yet they still have the heart to give back.
• • •
Days before Christmas, Typhoon Odette ravaged Visayas and Mindanao, bringing with her torrential rains, violent winds, landfalls, and storm surges. The death tolls are rising. The scale of the destruction remains unknown since some of the areas are still inaccessible and the connection and communication lines are still down.
If there’s a silver lining to this natural disaster, it would be that people rally together to provide immediate relief and recovery.
Artists, likewise, heed the call. Acclaimed visual artist Toym Imao generously donated his artwork and agreed to have it printed on shirts. For every donation of P1,000, you get to help the typhoon victims and receive a limited edition, specially designed shirt.
Filmmakers Arjanmar Rebeta, Arvin Belarmino, Direk IbonMan, and Jay Altarejos conducted a filmmaking workshop and screening, dubbed Tabang VisMin, A Benefit Film Screening and Film Talks for OdettePh on Dec. 23. They screened Nakaw, Santa Nena, Memories of Forgetting, and Palabas. All proceeds went to provide safe drinking water for Cebu, Leyte, Palawan, Dinagat, Bohol and Negros.
Music artist Noel Cabangon held a virtual concert, Dito sa Bahay, Birthday and Christmas Edition, last Dec. 26 for the benefit of Tabang Dinagat Islands.
Through their Artwork for Odette PH Relief Facebook page, some Davao artists are once again calling for support to help bring relief to some places affected by Typhoon Odette. The Facebook page used to be Artworks for Marawi, a donation drive for the Marawi Siege victims.
The artists will be swapping their artworks in exchange for cash or goods to be donated for their partner beneficiaries. They are also calling their fellow artists to donate their artworks such as painting, drawing, prints and/or sculptures. I also saw some individual artists who are doing commissioned portraits/paintings for a donation.
Of course, I want to remind you to be discerning to avoid being scammed. While there are generous and selfless people, there are some whose hearts are in the wrong place and take advantage of the grim situation.
• • •
With the worsening impacts of the environmental crisis, this might be an opportune time to renew the call for Climate Change. With the Philippines in the typhoon path, we really need to take this seriously.
According to Yeb Sano, Greenpeace Southeast Asia-Philippines executive director, these typhoons will get worse, more unpredictable, and more destructive should we remain merely reactionary to the climate crisis.