VISUAL ARTS - Mixed Media
Click on the images in the gallery below to view the full artworks and descriptions of the pieces under the "Kanin" series. This entire series has been SOLD.
"Kanin" means "Rice" in Tagalog.
Rice is the staple food of Filipinos; no Filipino meal can be complete without it. But rice – so simple and so common – is the root of complex issues that reveal the unjust struggles of many living in poverty.
The most straightforward level of inequality associated with rice is the time and effort that are required in order to produce the crop. Many of the poorest members of Philippine society today are the farmers who grow crops, like rice, in the rural provinces. Growing rice is a laborious undertaking in an underdeveloped nation that does not possess the latest tools in agricultural technology. And yet, the wealthier citizens of the country are the ones who are able to reap the benefits of this effort, able to afford the price of the rice.
This brings to light one of the Philippines’ basic problems: semi-feudalism. Up to this day, the social hierarchy of master-slave is thriving, as Filipino farmers spend their lives working on the land while receiving nothing in return. They are not entitled to the food that their own hands produced, because the wealthy few are the “masters” who own the land, and therefore, the harvested crops.
Another layer of injustice calls into question the roles of more powerful developed countries, like the United States. Bureaucrat capitalism is another major problem in the Philippines, with the Philippine government being called a “puppet government,” under the control of foreign influences. The economic interests of these wealthier nations are prioritized. The Philippines’ rich natural resources are being used to grow crash crops that are ultimately exported to other countries. It has been said that Filipinos grow enough crops within national borders to have enough food to eradicate the extreme poverty in the country; however, Philippine poverty continues to worsen because these crops are sold to satisfy the interests of wealthier nations.
Despite all the political and social controversies surrounding rice, it also stands for life and hope. During crisis and natural disaster situations, bags of rice are some of the first items to be delivered for aid. In something as simple as rice, which many may take for granted, so much can be unpacked. This series is dedicated to “kanin” in order to reveal the far-reaching effects and intertwined complexities of even the simplest of injustices.
*Not all paintings in the series are featured here.