What's Wrong With Filipino Art and Why Is It Under-Appreciated?
Art is present in so many of the places we go to and the things we do. We might scroll past most Instagram posts that we see, without thinking how each photo or video has several elements in it that make it look appealing to people. We weave our paths through the city every day, and we rarely see how the buildings are carefully designed and how the billboards are strategically done. We use and consume so many products per day, yet we fail to really appreciate the way they are presented to us. We listen to music, we appreciate the aesthetics of a post, we read books, we watch endless videos on our suggested list. But how much of it do we really pay attention to?
In our country, a lot of people have given up on art and have put a premium on financial stability. "What will you do with your art? Will it really feed you and put a roof over your head?" are the common questions anyone who wants to pursue art gets asked.
"What will you do with your art? Will it really feed you and put a roof over your head?"
There are those who are still unaware of how it will always have a presence in our daily lives, from the packaging of our favorite products to the shows we enjoy. Art has been looked down on, especially local art. We may have been educated again and again about colonial mentality and its effects, yet we still do not have enough appreciation for our own.
First, let's identify why this is a problem. Filipino art hasn't entirely been put on a high pedestal in years. There are great artists like Fernando Amorsolo and Juan Luna, who will always be remembered in history books and will always be familiar names. But these artists and their work, albeit should not be forgotten, aren't the only ones that we should know about. More recent artists are often shunned, saying that their work is unoriginal or not meeting a certain standard or not as good as their Western counterparts. It's seen as if our art is only limited to a certain template, and cannot be more, cannot be as interesting, cannot be worth our time.
Another problem is how we limit our artists. Oftentimes, original or unconventional ideas are not accepted, since they are not what people are used to. Corporations think that if this idea is not the usual thing that people gobble up, it is not worth the risk. So here, we strip the artist of its freedom of expression, forcing him/her to keep making a similar output just because it sells. We are not really allowed to show controversial topics, when art should be a means of communicating with other people and getting a message across. Artists are forced to do as the higher-ups tell them to do, and their potential is never known. They couldn't make a change in our viewpoints even if they wanted to, because our expression is silenced.
Oftentimes, original or unconventional ideas are not accepted, since they are not what people are used to.
Sometimes, our artists feel too discouraged to create content, choosing instead to take a job that they think can give them a steady income. So many have the potential to earn with the quality of the content they produce, but since we lean more towards other more "in" products, they are barely seen. Most of the artists here are fairly new, not as known across the online world or the real world, just starting out and following their hearts. These are people who pour out so much of themselves in what they do, leaving pieces of them in the things they create because these are a reflection of them and their thoughts, viewpoints, and feelings. These are people who often go unrecognized, but still do what they love to do.
There will always be those who create even if they know they won't benefit much from it. Theatre people who perform entire plays even for the smallest of audiences just to keep theatre alive. A singer writing her own lyrics and performing in cafes and small bars for even a few tips. A group of painters who create murals for school buildings just so the school doesn't look as dreary. Writers who publish short stories for children to enjoy. These people are not promised fame or fortune, but they still go on, since they believe that art should be shared with the world.
We live in a place so full of culture and history, so full of stories waiting to be told through different lines and words and brush strokes and film scenes. Live in it, support the people who do what they are passionate about, and maybe even spread the word. I'm not saying that you should forget all of the other artists who aren't local. I'm saying that this country is full of color, of life, of art in every corner, and once in a while, it wouldn't hurt to notice them a bit more.
We live in a place so full of culture and history, so full of stories waiting to be told through different lines and words and brush strokes and film scenes.
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