MANILA, Philippines – Artist and activist Nikki Luna staged an art exhibit and spoke on the growing number of extrajudicial killings (EJKs) in the Philippines and its effects on women to raise awareness about the issue.
The exhibit entitled, “Violence Need Not Be Bloody For It To Be Validated As Such”, features 3 art pieces with 5,000 pieces of .45 bullet casts that represent EJK victims.
Luna emphasized that for every person killed in the war against illegal drugs, there is always someone left behind and most often it is a woman.
“It is particularly pointing out how women, who are wives of the victims of alleged drug pushers or those who were accused and killed, are the ones left behind. The burden is on the woman because of her value as an integral part of someone’s life,” said Luna.
Women left behind, Luna pointed out, muster the power and strength to carry the burden left behind by their loved ones.
As of January 31, President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody war on illegal drugs already killed around 7,080 people, according to the Philippine National Police (PNP).
‘Womanhood is weapon’
Some of the bullet casts were used to form the statement “Womanhood is Weapon” and the remaining bullets were given to the attendees to be nailed in a black wall inside the gallery.
“Womanhood only becomes a problem when it is locked in a box where womanhood equates to motherhood, womanhood equates to being a wife. Womanhood equates to certain things that the society have conditioned us (to think) that this is how it is to be a woman. If you’re out if this box, you’re not one,” Luna said.
She added: “So if you’re not a mother, if you don’t choose a male partner, if you don’t choose to have kids, if you don’t want kids, these factors come. They have up till now measured women (based on) these categories. Being a woman is a weapon because there is so much that we can be without these defined categories.”
The second piece of the exhibit is a cast of the skirt identical to the one Vice President Leni Robredo has in her wardrobe. According to Luna, the second piece was conceptualized after the story about President Rodrigo Duterte ogling at the Vice President’s legs came out.
The last piece of the exhibit is a video installation that features a woman sweeping the blood of her dead husband, an alleged drug pusher who was killed.
The exhibit is open for public viewing until Thursday, February 9, at the Finale Art File, in La Fuerza Compound, Chino Roces, Makati. – with reports from Lourd Gentolio/ Rappler.com