‘Kambas ng Lipunan’ is a documentary by the late Joey Velasco (a national artist) that revolves around the 12 street children from different streets of Manila, Philippines. The painting was a modern ‘Last Supper’ with the portrait of Jesus Christ but the normal 12 disciples was replaced by the 12 street children.
Each face holds a story, each smile holds a secret and each eyes stairs right back at the person viewing them as if they want to reach into your heart and soul. The canvas turned into the whole world realization of what really is happening outside the four corners of your comfort zone which you call home and drags you to a journey into the real world where real person live and interact.
This faces are so familiar and you can see them around the world but almost no one sees them or did we just ignore them?
Joey Velasco, the documentary author, died July 20, 2010 due to heart attack and seizures.
‘Everyone knows he’s going to die, but nobody seems to be completely and absolutely prepared for it. Nobody lives each day ready to die; life should be lived to the full each day.’
NOTE: The painting was called ‘Hapag ng Pag-asa’
Jesus Christ never wrote a book. The only scene in the Gospel where we saw him write was on the sand. But what he wrote was blown by the wind. What was etched in our minds forever in history and in eternity was his preference for the outcasts and rejects.
In the future, I will be like the sand that will be blown by the wind. I will remain an unknown artist and writer. I will soon be forgotten. May the things I wrote in which I commit myself, be etched forever.
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.