“Why do we immediately discount great work when it’s made by a Filipino?”

by Kitty Drake in May 2019
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Art & design

Printed in Manila, Purveyr profiles Filipino creatives. ‘Creatives’ is a word so overused in magazines it is vaguely nauseating, and if you skim-read, the format here seems predictable: artists are photographed, and asked questions like, “Describe a regular day in your life”. The answers, though, tend to surprise you. When street painter Archie Oclos is asked about turning points in his life, for example, he talks about the moment, five days after he buried his baby, that he first went outside and drew on a wall.

The theme for this issue of Purveyr, their fifth, is ‘Global’. Again, an almost meaningless term is given new meaning. Tension between the global and the local — specifically the undervaluing, or exploitation of the local in favour of global interests — is strongly felt throughout the magazine. Partly that has to do with the land itself: Oclos comes from a family of farmers from Catanduanes, Bicol and has been subjected to military harassment for his political murals, many of which respond to the killing of indigenous peoples.

But Purveyr is also about discomfort with the very idea of ‘going global’. A painful question that underpins the issue is, “Why do we immediately discount great work when it’s made by a Filipino?” explains Marvin Conanan, Purveyr’s editor-in-chief. “I think the idea of foreign being better is so ingrained in Filipino culture — at the root, there’s a sense of insecurity about our own”.


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