Thursday, October 27, 2005

Young Survivors

An exhibit of photographs by Luis Liwanag

October 24 - November 12, 2005

Iniimbita ko kayong pumasyal at panooring ang ilang mga larawan na isinabit namin sa Oarhouse Bar sa Mabini St. sa kanto ng Remedios at katabi ng Hobbit House. Naitayo ito sa tulong ng mga kaibigan ng mga taga DigitalQ. Hope to see you all there.



Exhibition notes by Alex Baluyut

Poverty is a horrific experience for any human being. To be born into poverty is a lifelong struggle to free oneself from its clutches. Children of poverty live a nightmarish existence, which they adapt to with their usual playfulness and optimism believing that they can have a fairy tale ending, where all will be well.

The new photographic works of Luis Liwanag (on exhibit at the Oarhouse, Mabini Street from October 24 to mid-November 2005) in living and breathing color opens the stage where children of rural and urban poverty live their small lives believing that some day all will be well in their lives. And when you look at Liwanag's photos you seem to believe that yes, someday all will indeed go well. A prevalence of optimism goes with every frame. Each photo captures the joy of living. As you look at the portraits of these urchins, they seem to grow old right before your very eyes prematurely becoming tough adults years before their time. Tough characters are bred from tough circumstances. Then you are again made aware that they are the little ones just like your own young ones at home that play and watch Barney, and you question the human condition -- which no human being should ever go through. You grit your teeth and curse under your breath wishing you could just do something to improve the situation or maybe kick a politician in the balls for allowing poverty to prevail.

Still later on, the faces start to grow on you and you start to give them their names, like the boy wearing a cap backwards hip-hop style will be 'Bitoy' or the tough kid on top of the garbage dump with the Mohawk haircut will be 'MAX' and so on..

Pretty soon you belong to their world and you start to live out their lives and just how dirty, smelly and downright lowdown it is! And you start to imagine a kick to the balls is not enough for those dirty politicians. Burn their Expeditions! Throw shit on their barong tagalogs! Revoution!! �.

It never gets too extreme. With the photographs, it becomes a humanistic approach to a horrific situation. Liwanag knows and lives out their lives many times over, it seems, and that's where the beauty of his photos is: a compassionate yet unique way to look at a situation repeated and lived in other thousands of communities around the country.

about the photographer --

Luis Liwanag started shooting in high school with his first instamatic camera and later on became artist and staff photographer for the student newspaper, 'DAWN' in college.

In the waning years of the Marcos regime, Luis started to work for the Philippine Daily Express where he learned the ropes from its staff of veteran photojournalists. Soon afterwards he worked as a stringer for the Associated Press and as staff photographer for Agence France Presse.

After covering the 1986 People Power Revolution that toppled Marcos, he joined the international photo agency Gamma-Liaison where he was Philippine correspondent covering national issues until it became the present Getty Images.

Luis also trained as a a key animator and joined the Philippine subsidiary of Hanna-Barbera Productions in 1988 which paved the way for him to work with Big Top Productions of San Francisco's multimedia Gulch as character animation director. He directed interactive CD-ROMS like Felix Cartoon Toolbox and the Simpsons Cartoon Studio which revolutionized Macromedia Director Creations.

One day , Luis realized he was still a photographer at heart and went back to shooting images. He is at present the chief photographer of a national tabloid and shoots for various magazines and contributes to the asian photo Agency, Eyepress. He can be emailed at With mobile phone no. +639196600763. Posted by Picasa

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