Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Make a Stand for Democracy Now

Elections should always be about change, about hope and the chance to start anew. But while this strong pillar of democracy should be all about the collaborative power of the Filipino people to choose leaders that they believe and trust in, history has shown that some have chosen to wrest power through violence, brutality and bloodshed.

When Reality Is Mirrored as Fiction
Now that elections are just a month away, it’s the perfect time to ask ourselves what we can do to prevent election-related violence. With this in mind, Cherie Paris watches urges everyone to shout “No!” to electoral violence in any way we possibly can. A specially commissioned photographic tableau, titled Not Today, which was created by award-winning photographer/visual artist Wawi Navarroza, will be put up as a billboard along EDSA, Mandaluyong, to remind all Filipinos that democracy means clean, peaceful and honest elections.

Taking after news photos from the media and Francisco de Goya’s cathartic painting, The Third of May, 1808, Navarroza creates a critical piece that comments and re-imagines the absurdity of violence by staging a thought-provoking Real/Unreal tableau vivant. Like Not Today, The Third of May, 1808, which commemorates the Spanish resistance to Napoleon’s armies during the occupation of 1808, also served as a poignant reaction against political violence. “I got interested in re-creating a shared pathos, a familiar disturbing image as a way of addressing the problems….”

“I’ve designed this piece to function in many levels through the different contexts I staged this photo to be read (billboard, gallery, commercial),” explains the contemporary artist. “The work aims to destabilize our usual reception of images in order for us to remember and rethink how images shape our ideas and opinions in a massive insidious way. I’ve decentralized the meaning in this picture by depicting reality mirrored as fiction.”

She adds further: “That this photograph seems to be parading the Theatre of the Absurd is nothing different to the absurdity of massacre, war, atrocity and violence. People have died for pointless reasons, the "senseless" killings (is there sensible killing?), the blood-stained election votes. We all know it's starting to feel like circus around here. We're living in a cabaret of underhanded politics... the huddled masses with collective amnesia, the trigger-happy demons on wheels, sequined evangelists, stupid whitening products, scams and scandals, the madmen and monsters who are willing to do horrendous acts of violence in exchange of...what? This is our dark comedy, our self-styled campy horror show.”

The Time is Now
And just like the photographic tableau Not Today, a limited- edition Cherie Paris watch likewise reminds us that there’s no time better than now to make a stand against electoral violence, against brutality and against bloodshed.

Designed by Navarroza for Cherie Paris, the “Peace” watch features a short hand that reads “It’s about time” and a long hand showing the words “Enough blood on the ballot,” emblazoned as strong symbols of peace, as well as non-violent and honest elections.

With each limited edition advocacy Cherie Paris watch is a response to the call to action to speak up and to show others that Filipinos will not take this important issue sitting down. With three distinct colors, people can now opt to wear what they stand for on their wrists. The “Peace” watch reminds Filipinos that it’s about time we emerge from behind our mobile phones, behind television sets and behind our Facebook and Twitter accounts and take an active and visible stand against electoral violence.

Wawi Navarroza’s Not Today and the limited edition Cherie Paris watches share all Filipinos’ common advocacy for peaceful elections and a better Philippines.
Wear one to show that Filipinos are one in our conviction against election violence. Today.

For more information about Urban Time and Wawi Navarroza’s anti-violence advocacy, please visit www.urbantime.com.ph. Limited-edition Cherie Paris “Peace” watch is available at The Urban Time boutique in SM North EDSA Annex and select Robinsons and Metro Gaisano department store

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