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LIST: Martial law 51st anniversary arts and culture events happening this September

By John Patrick Magno Ranara Published Sep 13, 2023 5:01 pm

As the Philippines prepares to mark the 51st anniversary of Martial law, several institutions and organizations are making the effort to set up events and activities that aim to educate and remind Filipinos about one of the darkest periods in Philippine history.

Originally signed on Sept. 21 but was declared on Sept. 23, 1972, the Martial law signifies an important era in the Philippines. It was marked by around 3,200 extrajudicial killings, 34,000 tortures, and 70,000 imprisonments, according to Amnesty International, leading many to describe it as a "golden age" for abuses.

Here are a few art exhibits, free film screenings, and other cultural events taking place this September to serve as a reminder to the public to #NeverForget:

Lift the Sheets: Uncovering the Dictator’s Dirt by UP Cebu Fine Arts Students Organization

The Fine Arts Students Organization of the University of the Philippines' Cebu branch will commemorate the anniversary of Martial law through their exhibit titled Lift the Sheets: Uncovering the Dictator’s Dirt

Lift the Sheets: Uncovering the Dictator’s Dirt will be showcased at the Joya Gallery in UP Cebu on Sept. 18 to 22.

Hanapin ang Sagot: Ano ang Batas Militar book launch

Thinking of adding an informative book to your library? Then you may want to watch out for the launch of Hanapin ang Sagot: Ano ang Batas Militar by by Aldy Aguirre, Margarita Santos, and Ergoe Tinio.

Organized by the Center for Art, New Ventures, and Sustainable Development (CANVAS), the book contains photos and information lifted from primary sources, along with engagement activities, of the Martial law era. It attempts to unpack this dark time by explaining the many aspects of democracy, all while presenting artworks and reflective poetry that confront the Philippines' history.

The book launch will be held on Sept. 29 at 4:00 p.m. at CANVAS Gallery and Garden in Quezon City.

Ligalig: Art in a Time of Threat and Turmoil by Ateneo Art Gallery
Ateneo Art Gallery

One of Ateneo Art Gallery's ongoing exhibits highlights works that reveal the precarious conditions brought about by the Marcos dictatorship. Titled Ligalig: Art in a Time of Threat and Turmoil, the display explores issues such as the infringement of basic human rights and press freedom, corruption in government, capitalism and unfair labor practices, illegal detention, and extrajudicial killings.

Immerse yourself in a collection of artworks that warn about threats to life and freedom from abuse of power, poverty, economic and social inequalities, and environmental degradation.

The exhibit is open until Nov. 4, 2023.

Martial law film showing by EdukSine

For a more visual experience, join the film viewing at EdukSine featuring gripping films about Martial law.

The streaming platform line-up of films includes Liway, a true-to-life independent film that revolves around the story of a rebel and anti-Marcos young mother; ML, a psychological film about a retired soldier who hallucinates that he is still living under the Marcos regime; and Respeto, a drama film that centers on a poor aspiring rapper who befriends an older poet after vandalizing his bookstore.

The films can be streamed on EdukSine's website.

Huwag Natin Silang Kalimutan documentary showing by Tudla Productions
Tudla Productions

If you want to hear actual narratives from those who experienced the Martial law era, then watch Tudla Productions' Huwag Natin Silang Kalimutan documentary series.

The series aims to combat films that have been creating myths around the first family and distracting the people from pressing woes as well as the first family’s unpaid debts. It also strives to raise awareness of the dire struggles of the marginalized and underserved sectors of society.

Huwag Natin Silang Kalimutan will premiere from Sept. 11 to 21 at 7:00 p.m. on Tudla Productions' social media channels.

NOTE: Event dates, venues, and program schedules of the commemorative events are subject to change without prior notice. For more information, PhilSTAR L!fe strongly advises guests to visit the organization’s official social media pages and websites.