Manila: Creating In Spite of Fear
Manila, a giant Asian metropolis with traffic-laden roads, towering skyscrapers and sprawling informal settlements, has become a dangerous place. Rodrigo Duterte was elected president of the Philippines in June 2016, vowing to crack down on the drug trade. Since then, extrajudicial killings have led to the deaths of over 3500 people by vigilantes; his approach is reminiscent of the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos, who ruled from 1965 to 1986. In this climate of terror, artists find ways to create and survive, at times adopting subtle artistic techniques to address the political realities facing the country. In this episode, we see: Russ Ligtas, a performance artist using alter egos to channel social concerns; Christina Dy, a pole-dancer challenging mainstream taboos on women’s sexuality; Patrick Cruz, a Canadian-Filipino painter and sculptor seeking to bridge identities; Marlon "Loonie" Peroramas, a renowned battle rapper with politically charged word rhymes; and Nikki Luna, a visual artist whose provocative work challenges notions of femininity. All are struggling to survive and to continue engaging with the residents of Manila as they face an increasingly uncertain future.