Under the Lord's Shadows

Under the Lord's Shadows 
A Photo and Multimedia Exhibit
Kanto Artists-Run Space at The Collective, 7274 Malugay Street, San Antonio Village Makati, Philippines
November 23, 2011 at 4pm

Maguindanao is a place where people flee their homes in the middle of the night to escape the fury of conflict; where children crawl under running mills for morsels of corn; where 58 people are massacred under a glistening sun to keep a ruling clan in power; where babies endure the damp earth of makeshift evacuation shelters; where young men are trained to kill to protect the mighty and the powerful.

Greed and power brought outsiders to Mindanao, taking advantage of those in far-flung areas and in the remotest communities. The island’s geographical distance from the rest of the country made it easy for ruling clans to plunder its resources and abuse its people. The powers-that-be spawned wars to justify armaments and their slice of the trillion-a-year national budget. The evacuees are forced on the run to escape manufactured conflicts.

For decades, the government supported and funded ruling families that could tighten the national government’s grip on power. Mindanao represents the decades-old problems of feudalism, greed and poverty gripping the Philippines. What is happening in the rest of the country is happening in the island tenfold. The ruling clans remain in power, living comfortably inside sprawling mansions, surrounded by their very own gun-wielding private armies.

Outside these fortresses, the people of Maguindanao go on with their daily struggle to earn a living. Their lives are at a standstill. They will flee when there is conflict and they will bury their dead when bullets overtake them. At harvest season, their hungry children will crawl under the mills for leftover kernels of corn.

Under the Lord’s Shadows is part of a Jes Aznar’s long-term documentary project in Mindanao. His project on the issue of land and feudalism in the Philippines led him to the island of Mindanao. Far away from the seat of power and urbanization, it's an island where our society's social, political, and economic conditions are magnified tenfold.

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