Exhibit of 'banned PH martial law photos' opens in Los Angeles Exhibit of banned PH martial law photos opens in Los Angeles
 
 
 
 
 
 

Exhibit of ‘banned PH martial law photos’ opens in Los Angeles

/ 10:00 PM April 06, 2023

UN Protest (Keystone Press Agency, Inc.; 1977) "Anti-Marcos demonstrators in front of the U.N."

UN Protest (Keystone Press Agency, Inc.; 1977) “Anti-Marcos demonstrators in front of the U.N.”

LOS ANGELES — Photographs that were reportedly suppressed during the martial law years in the Philippines can now be seen in an exhibit in Los Angeles.

“Golden Years: Weighing Philippine Martial Law 1972-1981” will feature images depicting Philippine events during those decades.

Most of the photos in the exhibit, according to curator Victor Barnuevo Velasco, were suppressed in the Philippines by the Marcos government but appeared in American news sources and are primary sources of information.

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Showcased are around 90 vintage photographs collected from the archives of U.S. newspapers. Some bear notes by photo editors and all have original captions included.

Velasco said, “The show’s title is an ironic take on how the Marcos family labeled their rule as the ‘golden age of Philippine economy and society.'”

The exhibit aims to “examine the malleability of perception, the elasticity of reality, and the vulnerabilities of individual and national memory.”

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It will be held at Avenue 50 Studio in Highland Park, Los Angeles. An opening reception will be held on April 8 featuring poetry and music. Poets, writers and artists who will be featured at the opening reception include Carol Ojeda, Cynthia Buiza, Lyn Pacificar and Zosimo Quibilan, Jr.

Historical context  

Velasco emphasized the role of the press in documenting that point in time.

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“First published in the U.S. papers, these photographs are source documents, away from the censorship, intervention, and influence of the Philippine government at that time. They are snapshots of history as they happened. The distance of the publication from the location of the events offered objectivity that normally only came with the passage of time.”

A majority of the photos were transmitted from the Philippines to press agencies via wire or radio telegraph with a considerable number printed in the studios of the photographers.

Accompanying the photos are infographics and timelines that provide context to this period in Philippine history.

CO Protest (Keystone Press Agency, Inc.; 1970) "Police stand guard in front of one of government buildings after [pre-martial law] clashes with students who were rallying against imperialism, feudalism, and corruption."

CO Protest (Keystone Press Agency, Inc.; 1970) “Police stand guard in front of one of government buildings after [pre-martial law] clashes with students who were rallying against imperialism, feudalism, and corruption.”

The photographs are part of a private collection promised to the Albay Arts Foundation in the Philippines, of which Velasco is a founding member. Velasco’s prose and poetry have been featured in print and online journals such as Ani, Bicol Journal of Literature, Graphic Reader, Impossible Archetype, The Kuwento Book, An Anthology of Filipino Stories+Poems, Migozine, and others.

Opening reception

The exhibit was launched last year at Florida International University in Miami to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the declaration of martial law in the Philippines. It kicked off its national tour at Bliss on Bliss Arts Project in New York.

This year, it has toured San Jose State University, A Reason to Survive Gallery and California State University. It is slated to tour Rice University in Houston, Texas.

The photo exhibit at Avenue 50 Studio is presented by the Association of Feminists Fighting Fascism, Imperialism, Refeudalization, and Marginalization (AF3IRM), an organization of women dedicated to the fight against oppression in all its forms.

AF3IRM’s diverse, multi-ethnic membership is “committed to militant movement-building from the United States and effects change through grassroots organizing, trans-ethnic alliance building, education, advocacy and direct action.”

 

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TAGS: Philippine history, Philippine politics
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