Drug rehab patients in collaboration with artist Ralph Eya speaks out their “hatol” through a public art installation
HATOL public art installation presents the consummation of the 3-day Visual Arts Therapy program of the Department of Health Treatment and Rehabilitation Center Bicutan. The socially engaged art project intended to contribute to the personal development of the surrendered drug dependents through the art workshop and production 5K: Katauhan-Kakayanan-Kapwa-Karanasan-Karapatan. About 30 participating artists from Camp Bagong Diwa DOH-TRC and Ralph Eya underwent a creative process of undefining, defining, and redefining consciousness about identity, capacity, community, and the universality of our human rights and our experiences. The collaborative site-specific art installation piece examines the concept of “hatol” in the context of the drug war in the Philippines. Amidst the judgment we face every single day, may it be simply through social media communication or violently through extrajudicial executions, how do we exist in between charges and chances? Do we just declare another statement? Or do we fight to express and progress our humanness?
Bagong Diwa: Undefine, Define, Redefine
Disconcertingly comparable with the marks left in a crime scene, traced and drawn from the dead bodies killed from the drug war in the streets of Manila and the rest of the country, we recreated body maps. Contrary to how we usually perceive these marks, body map or body mapping is an artistic therapeutic process that enables us to create and explore our “katauhan” with all the elements and stories that goes with it. The outline of the human figure is formed directly from the physical self, creating a life-size depiction of the body. Body mapping aims to map out the whole self and our natural “kakayanan.” A body map is not a mark of death, it is a mark of an identity.
We do not eliminate identity, we create identity. We undefine marks.
Marks, either from physiological or emotional experience becomes a part of an individual. After six months, or sometimes more, the challenge goes beyond rehabilitation. The released drug dependents face public judgment and repeat accusations, they live a life defined by stigma. Stigma that emanates from lack of empathy. If we can only be more emphatic towards each other, deepen our understanding about each other’s experiences, we nurture relationships and we invite an environment of dialogue.
Dialogue, verbally or visually can be a form in which we can all be involved. And truthful dialogue comes with an open mind for our “kapwa” Together, we can find our common ground and recognize our interrelated “karanasan”. What defines who we are and who others are is our shared experiences and our relationship with each other.
We do not eliminate each other, we support each other. We define our common experience.
Our experiences continue to be challenged every day. Every word is an allegation. Every act is a judgment. Every moment is a charge. In these trying times, if we all become what this system wants us to become, to be heartless human beings incapable of love, hope, and mutual trust, to be incapable of respecting each other’s right to life, then the so called change has seemingly come. And if this change is truthful, charge us with what we truly deserve. Charge us with our “karapatan”. Charge us with human rights.
Charge us with education. Charge us with inclusion. Charge us with genuine social transformation.
For what is in every HATOL: Between Charges and Chances is every human life.
– Ralph Eya
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