(SPOT.ph) Vice President Leni Robredo's various programs, including the anti-poverty project Angat Buhay, vaccination drive Swab Cab, and online teleconsult Bayanihan e-Konsulta, are mostly powered by supporters, volunteers, and partnerships with various organizations. So it doesn't come as a surprise that her bid for presidency is also driven by volunteer initiatives. This includes the convergence of more than 100 artists who agreed to participate in a fundraising exhibit to support Robredo's campaign. Mas Radikal ang Magmahal opens online on February 14, Valentine's Day, through www.radikal.ph. Participating artists include National Artist Benedicto Cabrera, Roberto Alejandro, Jomike Tejido, Elmer Borlongan, and many more.
"I think the coming election is as important as any we have faced. I lived through the 1986 elections, and this coming May 2022 exercise is reminiscent of the good [versus] evil vibe that pervaded those times. It's also striking to me that 2022 is the 50th year since the declaration of Martial Law by the dictator Marcos.
[Robredo] is a transformational leader, and is the candidate that I have no reservations voting for. She's the president that my children deserve—honest, competent, incorruptible. Unfortunately and ironically, she is facing tall odds. So I just wanted to do what I could. For my children. For our country. For our future," Mas Radikal ang Magmahal organizer Gigo Alampay tells SPOT.ph in an online exchange. He's also the founder and executive director of CANVAS (short for The Center for Art, New Ventures & Sustainable Development), which is a non-profit organization that works with the creative community to promote children's literacy and a sense of national identity.
What stayed with Alampay when Robredo announced her bid for the presidential seat was her line "Mas radikal ang magmahal." He reached out to award-winning writer Jose Dalisay Jr., who's known to most people as Butch Dalisay, to pen a short essay on the four-word motto.
Dalisay ended up writing the 604-word piece Radikal—The President We Deserve, which ironically starts with the sentence "I grew up a Marcos believer." In 12 paragraphs, he narrates how he spent most of his days as a 19-year-old student who opposed the president that "acquired more power and more wealth" by "[stealing] from both the rich and poor" and [punishing] those who stood up to him. Dalisay, like many students his age, was a radical. The rest of the narrative talks about how radicalism, love, and compassion go hand-in-hand to fight of the forces of evil—"the corruption, the oppression, and the despotism." The piece immediately went viral when it was released online on October 27, 2021. It's also currently found on www.radikal.ph.
"I then invited artists to respond to his essay through their art, and that's how this project started," recalls Alampay.
Over 100 artists expressed their intention to participate in Mas Radikal ang Magmahal. Some were invited friends, while others reached out to him through e-mail and social media and asked to be part of the project. Quite a few had to beg off at the last minute because of the physical, mental, and emotional impact of the most recent surge in COVID-19 cases.
When asked whether art can change the world, Alampay points out: "Yes. This show—win or lose—is proof of that."
Mas Radikal ang Magmahal opens online on February 14 through www.radikal.ph.
All images are courtesy of Gigo Alampay.