WALANG GURI: Gem Suguitan

Project Hulmahan

Feb 9, 2023, 7:36 AM
Gem Suguitan

Gem Suguitan


I saw the announcement on Facebook, so I joined. The project is looking for volunteer artists who would be willing to paint or make any kind of art out of the shoe lasts or shoe molds (hulmahan) that are no longer being used because the pandemic hit the struggling shoe industry in Marikina, the Shoe Capital of the Philippines.

Zena Bernardo, one of the members of Ladies Who Launch (LWL) and one of the co-founders of Bayaning Marikenyo at Marikenya (BM+M) met with shoe manufacturers who were closing shop. Some shoe lasts were already thrown and collected by residents of Isla de Lata as Bernardo mentioned in her facebook post on 14 April last year, and used as firewood for community kitchen. The sight is heartbreaking!

Their group bought more than 500 pairs of shoe lasts (or shoe molds) and developed the idea of turning it into artworks to raise fund for community-based programs. From there grew the three-organization collaboration with UP Artists’ Circle Fraternity (AC) as the final addition.

LWL is a four-women-team composed of Bernardo, (mother of Ana Patricia ‘Patreng’ Non of the famous community pantry in Maginhawa), Dolly De Leon, yes, the award winning, internationally acclaimed actress making waves in Holywood, Judith Albano, and Jasmine Ong. They were founders of the community kitchen that helped a lot of people during the height of covid-19 pandemic.

Six hundred artists responded to the call and the artworks are now being collected for exhibition at a lifestyle mall on March 15th, the third anniversary of the very first lockdown in Metro Manila and Southern Luzon due to the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. Proceeds of the artworks will go to the advocacies of the three organizations: BM+M for community kitchen, garden, and livelihood programs; The Community Kitchen Project for nationwide disaster response through Community Pantry and BM+M; and AC for community art school for kids that is aligned with the Basic Human Rights Literacy Program. All these data can be found on their website that will be launched in 38 days as of this writing. It is up to the artists if they will donate a hundred just a certain percentage of the sales. At least 1,200 artworks are expected to be on exhibit and some will be for bidding.

The call had been so effective that all regions and a lot of artist groups all over the country are represented. At least three groups from Quezon are joining: Lopenze Artists from Lopez, Daloy Likha from Lucban, and KaSining from Atimonan.

Get ready to be surprised on what had become of the shoe lasts that were otherwise burnt had it not been saved.

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