Lailone believes he could “design” people’s mindset to promote a new way of thinking. This can be done through art and for Lailone, he uses cartoons as it’s easy to make and doesn’t require effort from a team or a group of people. It’s also easier to share in this age of social media.
Being a political cartoonist was more straightforward when Myanmar was still under Military rule. But now that the country is democratic, Lailone practices a sort of self censorship, being careful with the message and the words that he uses in his cartoon drawings, because unlike before, what they have now is what is considered as the people’s government.
Lailone believes in the power of cartoons where a short message can be expressed through a drawing or illustration. He also likes the fact that this gives him the chance to develop himself as he gets to read political history, observe many things, and learn different lessons. Creating cartoons is Lailone’s hobby, work, and art.
Aside from being a freelance cartoonist, Lailone also works for an environmental NGO where he’s involved in training, implementation, and production of nature-related IEC materials for children.
I got to attend Pierre de Vallombreuse’s talk on his photo exhibition, The Valley, that features Palawan’s indigenous group, Tau’t Batu, in black and white prints. Pierre shared his personal story of how his feet led him to Palawan 18 times, totaling to almost four years.
Developing a close relationship with the Tau’t Batu, Pierre was able to capture special moments, some unexpected, that tell the story of this group of people that is able to maintain its unique cultural identity while integrating to modern society.
I asked Pierre for a tip for someone like me who is not a photographer but would want to create stories through pictures. His simple answer, to the amusement of everyone, take a photography class. Okay, let me add that to the growing list of things I want to learn.
One line that I really liked from his talk was when he said, “Each picture is not a statement, it’s a question mark.” Indeed, as I left the National Museum I asked myself, “How can cultural identity thrive in this modern world?” I also belong to an indigenous group but I can barely see any trace of Cordilleran in me.
From the photo exhibit, I traveled through Manila traffic (of course!) and headed to Shangri-La Plaza for the screening of the Japanese film, “Dragnet Girl” which is part of the 11th International Silent Film Festival. The film is a love story of a gangster couple but what made it even more interesting is the live musical score by the Celso Espejo Rondalla and the presence of Ichiro Kataoka, a benshi or a silent film narrator.
The black and white film with English subtitles, the string accompaniment, and the animated voice of the benshi were a treat to all senses making this a one of a kind experience.
It’s amazing how there are numerous opportunities where one can appreciate art in all forms here in Manila. And a lot of these events are for free!
Speaking of art forms, let me add dance to my “to-learn list” as I’m a frustrated dancer. Last Sunday, I watched “KoryoLab 2017,” a showcase of the works of six dance choreographers. Two of the pieces had the issue of EJK as its theme and I found the performances powerful and emotional. Like Pierre’s photos being not statements but questions, the dance performances were certainly more than statements but evoked questions on relationships, life, and social issues.
“Postcard” choreographed by Russ Ligtas. (Photo by Marveen Lozano)
From photos, to films, to dance, to this piece of writing. We all love telling stories. And we share them the best way we can.