Arists groups UGATLahi Artist Collective, Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP) and Sining Bugkos, together with labor groups Defend Job Philippines, Kilusang Mayo Uno, and Kilos Na Manggagawa launched an art exhibition today that features works by visual artists, artist groups, and contractual workers at the University of the Philippines.
‘End Endo’ highlights artworks depicting the struggles of Filipino workers against contractualization and for decent work, higher wages, better benefits, humane working conditions, and safe workplaces.
According to the organizers, artists contributed to this campaign by creating a barrage of works that combine wit and indignation in response to the dispersal of the strike of Nutri Asia workers last July 30. For them, their works are a testament to strong repression in factories and workplaces, and dispelled as well the trite portrayal of strikers as rowdy and violent.
“The End Endo exhibit seeks to foster creative expressions of solidarity in the context of labor rights. Our collective works are commentaries which cross beyond issues of contractualization and explore topics such as living wages, workplace safety, right to form unions and struggle against the government’s anti-worker policies,” said UGATLahi Artist Collective UP Diliman chair Luigi Almuena.
Exhibit curator and CAP member Karl Castro cited the International Trade Union Confederation’s Global Rights Index 2018 in saying that the Philippines is among the top 10 countries that fare badly in terms of labor rights, which explains the escalating number of strikes workers across the country have been launching.
“The times demand our understanding and involvement,” Castro said.
Participating artists also said that they are not blind to injustice and are in solidarity with struggling Filipino workers’ campaigns to boycott their products.
“We stand with the workers whose fruits of labor we consume in everyday life,” Castro added.
Workers to Duterte: Unionism is not terrorism!
Labor groups and workers associations of Jollibee Foods Corporation, Nutri Asia, Philippine Long Distance Telephone (PLDT) Company, and Uni Pak sardines, who graced the exhibit opening, welcomed the initiative of artist groups and said that the show of support inspires them to struggle harder for their rights.
KMU Metro Manila chairperson Ed Cubelo underscored the Duterte government’s scheme to demonize workers strikes and labor unions as the administration linked such actions to the ‘Red October destabilization plot’ peddled by the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
“Duterte’s paranoia poses serious threats to Filipino workers nationwide as they become open targets of attacks by state forces,” Cubelo said.
“The Duterte government is destroying itself from within as it failed its promises to Filipino workers that it will end all forms of contractualization,” Cubelo said.
End Endo is exhibited at the Atelyer Gallery in the University of the Philippines Bulwagan ng Dangal and will run until October 31.