︎ Mervy Pueblo
Sculptor, Art Educator
translated by Peng Wu
At the moment, I am just going through the motions, but I have put more careful attention to the needs of my loved ones. Like many, since this current epidemic we went through series adjustments in life and tried to create a semblance of normalcy even if we were left by our government to economically fend off for ourselves. In this time when many jobs are being lost, and commissioned works being cancelled or has become limited which I have personally experienced, I am thankful I was offered my previous full-time job back in a university as this brings comfort to my family.
Being ranked as middle-class by our government, we were ineligible for the monthly COVID-19 financial aid despite being part of the workforce of the country. In hindsight, the disservice of our local government has been ever-present since the Cory Aquino administration so it came as no surprise that most Filipino's have given up any fight. Also, our culture is commonly known for being too tolerant, from my personal observation I think this is due to the enfeebling Catholic upbringing of not questioning authority folded with the teaching that the after life is more important than the present.
It is great that the national, and local government (allegedly) is taking care of the non-taxpayers and/or from the lower bracket of society by providing them monthly financial aid. However, one can be tempted to question political agenda. It is known that the majority of voters come from that community, and the trapo's still believe that the attention and opinions of this majority can still be easily manipulated through little cash the trapo's would wave at them. But with this pandemic, perhaps there is an on-going awakening within this community after seeing how badly their locality is governed very poorly by the same people who bought their votes.
As an artist, I have thought about how I can address concerns of my community through the language of art. But as I observe, art isn't an immediate need in my community: survival and security is paramount. In my country, I feel that the best time to get support for socially engaged art projects is when everyone gets a better sense of "new normal." Moreover, I don't wish to lead a project when I, myself, is having an existential insecurity due this pandemic. For now, I try to be content by the financial stability that my full time work gives me, even if it means having just bits of time to create. But I recognize that this responsibility to be a full-time art educator is maybe the cultural contribution that I can give for my country.