[13 August 2014] Following a successful sale of art pieces made by Yolanda survivors last March, Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) is supporting a bigger exhibit of driftwood sculpture created by the various communities under its livelihood program.
Following a successful sale of art pieces made by Yolanda survivors last March, Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) is supporting a bigger exhibit of driftwood sculpture created by the various communities under its livelihood program.
Launched in partnership with the Sonria condominium project of Stonebridge Corp. and Geo Estate Development Corp., the “Gising” exhibit features the works of several communities displaced by destructive typhoons – the Banglos sculptors of Quezon and Yolanda survivors from Capiz and Palawan – and of Indigenous People from South Sierra Madre.
Proceeds of the sale, which will run for the whole month of August at the Sonria Pavilion inside the Madrigal Business Park in Alabang, will be used to expand the sculpture training of the communities and to purchase tools and equipment for production.
Community artists with Smart community partnerships head Darwin Flores (fourth from left)
Sculpting a new livelihood out of driftwood
Smart started to organize sculpture trainings in 2005, when it saw an opportunity for displaced fisherfolk of Banglos, Quezon to literally sculpt a new livelihood out of the driftwood and felled logs that littered the area following four consecutive typhoons in 2004. The logs were then being turned into charcoal by some members of the community.
Smart tapped renowned sculptor Rey Contreras and the Daambakal Sculptors of Tondo, Manila to train the Banglos residents. Four months later, they mounted an exhibit at the Cultural Center of the Philippines – a record of sorts in the Philippine community art scene. More exhibits in Manila, Cebu, and Bacolod followed, which brought in more than P1 million in proceeds in just the first two years of operation.
Seeing how the project has improved the Banglos residents’ lives, Smart decided to replicate it in other typhoon-ravaged communities, as well as in watershed areas. Results have been positive, as evidenced by the successful Makati exhibit last March of sculpture made by the Banglos community and Yolanda survivors.
So far, 150 people in eight communities have undergone sculpture training under the Smart program.
Working with nature
“Aside from giving these communities a new source of income, this project unleashes their creativity and encourages deeper respect for the environment. During trainings they are taught to ‘listen’ to what the raw materials want themselves to look life. This philosophy of working with nature – not against it – is worth highlighting, as many of the sculptors are survivors of disasters exacerbated by environmental degradation,” said Smart public affairs head Mon Isberto.
“The program also helps them stay away from work that harms the environment, such as illegal logging and charcoal making. This is important especially in the case of the Dumagat community residing by the Ipo watershed, which is a critical source of water supply for Metro Manila,” he added.
The Gising exhibit will be open to the public until August 31, from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.