Take a Line for a Walk is a group exhibition that presents drawing as an essential practice in art-making, especially in the social realist movement in the Philippines. Featured in this show are drawings that are social commentary – anecdotes on everyday life, reflections on the status quo, or direct challenges to the main narratives of Philippine history and society. 

Filipino curator, Patrick D. Flores, talks about the history of social realism on his article entitled, "Social Realism: The Turns of a Term in the Philippines". The full text can be found at "Afterall: A Journal of Art, Context and Enquiry" (2013). Bits and pieces of the article are discussed in this exhibit. 
Social Realism 
"...an aesthetic movement that emerged in the Philippines in the late 1970s. Resisting the idealisation of progress, social realism articulated a dissident cultural imagination, one wrought throughout centuries of colonialism, and that in many ways persists in postcolonial discourse and practice in the Philippines today." 
Marcos & Martial Law
When former dictator, Ferdinand Marcos, implemented Martial Law on 1972, Filipino artists came together to fight with medium they knew best: art. 
The Kaisahan or Solidarity was an organization of social realist artists formed in 1976. The group was composed of Papo de Asis, Pablo Baens Santos, Orlando Castillo, Jose Cuaresma, Neil Doloricon, Edgar Talusan Fernandez, Charles Funk, Renato Habulan, Albert Jimenez, Al Manrique, Jose Tence Ruiz, and Vin Toledo.
The Vision
"Crucial to Kaisahan’s polemic is an understanding of ‘national identity’ as a necessary step to posit a differential relationship with the West, and to critique the process of westernisation, which, they argue, has obscured or suppressed the ‘true condition’ of Philippine existence and therefore the ‘reality’ of its history:"
The Manifesto
"We, the artists of the Kaisahan, commit ourselves to the search for national identity in Philippine art. We believe that national identity is not to be found in a nostalgic love of the past or an idealised view of our tradition and history. It cannot be achieved by using the common symbols of our national experience without understanding the reality that lies within them...
We recognise that national identity, if it is to be more than lip service or an excuse for personal status seeking, should be firmly based on the present social realities and on a critical assessment of our historical past so that we may trace the roots of these realities... 
We shall therefore develop an art that reflects the true conditions in our society. This means, first of all, that we must break away from the Western-oriented culture that tends to maintain the Filipino people’s dependence on foreign goods, foreign tastes and foreign ways that are incompatible with their genuine national interests... 
We shall therefore move away from the uncritical acceptance of Western moulds, from the slavish imitation of Western forms that have no connection to our national life, from the preoccupation with Western trends that do not reflect the process of our development."
The Promise
"Our commitments to these objectives need not mean that we limit ourselves to a specific form or a specific style. We may take different roads in the forms that we evolve and use but we all converge on the same objectives...
The only limitation to our experimentation, to the play of our creative impulses, is the need to effectively communicate social realities to our chosen audiences...
To be true works of imagination, our works of art should not only reflect our perception of what is, but also our insights into what is to be. We grasp the direction in which they are changing, and imagine the shape of the future."
New Aesthetic
"Early examples of social realism invoked a revolutionary continuum sparked by a long history of colonial struggles in the Philippines...
Images depicting historical movements of resistance were freely cited and recombined with contemporary imagery and graphic codes referencing muralist practice and ideological iconography...
Representations of the worker and the mass, for instance, are mingled with visualisations of abstract concepts such as imperialism and accessible symbols of struggle such as the clenched fist."
Contemporary Times
Today, social realism is still (and very much alive) in the Philippines. A new generation of artists and muralists have been born to continue the fight of the mass movement through colors, canvases, and brushes. Ang Gerilya, UGATLahi, KARATULA, Renz Lee, Archie Oclos, Karl Castro, and Kiri Dalena are only few of the current and prominent social realism artists and groups of this century. 
Curated by Elmer Borlongan
Credits: Story

TAKE A LINE FOR A WALK is a special exhibition curated by Elmer Borlongan.

To see more exhibits, please visit www.canvas.ph

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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