Sa Kambas ng Lipunan – On The Canvas Of Society
by: Joey Velasco
Description: What follows is an excerpt from the speech of Joey Velasco on the occasion of the launching of his book “They Have Jesus: The Stories of the Children of Hapag” on Oct. 13, 2006.
Countless books have been written in the past about the triumph of the human spirit and about great men who were larger than life. This simple book purports to share the stories of a handful of small lives whose voices are often unheard and whose tiny dreams are shattered before they can even take form. I just allowed them to speak for themselves even amidst the environment of cynicism. Their story does not seem much because it is so simple, but it is definitely deep because it speaks of and mirrors the ills of society. I have learned from them that immersion or “sawsaw suka” is not enough, just for the feel-good-effect. Presence is the name of the game. Presence is what we are called for. I do not aim to do a Mother Theresa here or to fire up a grand vision like that of the great Tony Meloto whose environmental and social reengineering of Gawad Kalinga is becoming global. I am aware that I am surely not a powerful force to advocate change that will prevent hunger and raise funds. I am not a wealthy person. I am just a painter. I cannot be a front liner of any movement. But I know I can make a difference. This is my personal healing and transformative journey through the children’s pain, hope, faith, and liberation that can reach across generations and cultures. I wrote this book not out of conceit or in order to highlight the rare privilege of having painted with and from the heart. I am not sharing my strength as an artist or as a writer, but my weakness as a fellow journeyer, who witnessed these children drifting in the dark. Initially, I thought they were lost only to find out in the end that I was the one who was actually lost. It is not a testimony of how I pitied poor children. It is an acknowledgement of God’s abounding compassion for me. I am writing this to share how the Lord Himself painted through me and continues to give His message of hope and unconditional love through my humble work. In doing this, I wish to commit myself more and to live up to what is yet to unfold in the pages of this book
Kambas ng Lipunan(Canvas of the Society)Mahirap sila ttgan,masakiT sa maTa(It is hard to look at them, it’s painful in theeyes). These are the words of Joey Velasco in his documentary,Kambas ng Lipunan(Canvas of the Society). Words that described on what he felt when he saw the children that he used as models for his pain±ng, “Table of Hope”. It was inspired by da Vinci’s “Last Supper”, but instead of the regular faces of the apostles, he used children with diFerent stories and personali±es. The documentary was ²lled with stories that personally touched my heart. It was like I’m with Joey Velasco, traveling to ²nd out where these children are now and whathappened to them. In my perspec±ve, I really don’t haveany connec±ons with thesechildren but somehow I felt that they needed me. Their eyes were able to express howmuch pain they feel that ±me. I was one of those passer-by’s who think that their situa±on was normal.Ako pala ay nasanay na sa kanilang kahirapan(I got used to their poor situa±on). A mixture of pain and guilt is what I felt a³er seeing the