Arts & Culture


Members of the Sama-Samang Artista Para sa Kilusang Agraryo (SAKA) held a protest art exhibition that features the plight of the country’s fishermen.

/ 17 December 2020

Despite having rich aquatic resources, the Philippines’ fisherfolk communities remain to be one of the poorest and most neglected sectors of the society. In point of fact, Filipino fishermen  were recorded to have a poverty incidence of 34 percent, as recorded by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) in 2017.

Seeing the alarming situation, artists from the Sama-Samang Artista Para sa Kilusang Agraryo (SAKA) convened to protest against the poor treatment of the Philippines’ fisherfolk sector. 

In a floating art exhibit dubbed ‘Against the Stream,’ members of SAKA paraded their works that feature the concerns of Filipino fishermen on the West Philippine Sea dispute and the demolition of several local fishing communities.

The works that were created by 12 different artists take on the shape of a triangle, stretched, angled, and hung in a way that evokes colorful makeshift sails on fishing boats.

“[The artworks] are designed to remind out fisherfolk that they have allies among the petit-bourgeoisie and all oppressed classes in their struggle for basic economic and political rights,” SAKA said in a statement.

“The exhibit title ‘Against the Stream,’ calls attention to the reality that fisherfolk face a status quo of state policies and aggression that flows against them, and to stand for the rights of fishing communities is needed to push against the stream of bureaucratic and corporate interests,” the group added.

The floating exhibit started running in Manila Bay, Bacoor Cavite where a 420-hectare reclamation project in Manila Bay was condemned and sued by fishermen for allegedly violating a Supreme Court (SC) order. It can be recalled that in 2008, the SC issued a continuing mandamus directing various government agencies to clean up and rehabilitate Manila Bay.

According to SAKA, the exhibit will run the whole month of December and will later tour other fishing communities in the Philippines. 

You can view the works showcased in the exhibit on SAKA’s official Facebook page.