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I AM ND: Michael “Artivista” Luat at the Office Gallery


On exhibit March 24 – May 11, 2013

Opening reception March 24, 3-5PM


Kearny Street Workshop

1246 Folsom Street, Suite 100

San Francisco, CA 94103


“Art is not a skill. This is an irrevocable fact . It is beyond form. It is the consciousness juxtaposed with feelings, thus become structured and created into form… Action, which is the process of painting, is an interplay of sorrow, pain, fear, and the liberation from it which is joy, beauty, and freedom. It has an infinite doors in which these opposing forces interact. To me, my painting is a door to open. It is for the viewer to open and discover not the artist’s space but their own dimension…”

– Papo De Asis, Los Angeles, Ca. Feb. 26, 1997

I AM ND is an exhibit inspired by the National Democratic movement of the Philippines, a movement led by the Pilipino masses uniting to fight for basic human rights against an anti-people, neo-colonial government and system. It celebrates the legacy of 150 years of struggling for sovereign nationhood beginning with the revolutionary leader Andrés Bonifacio and continuing to this day.

The Philippines is an archipelago blessed with abundant natural resources enough to feed its entire population, including the eleven million Pilipinos living and working abroad. However, due to increasing privatization and globalization stemming from neoliberal policies propped up by the U.S.-controlled puppet state, resources are sucked dry and then dumped back into the country as finished products. Jobs are a joke as the rights of workers are whittled down to almost nothing, and wages are unable to cover the rising costs of living. These oppressive factors create a domino effect for families – from education, healthcare, housing, and more until people are forced to leave to seek “better opportunities” abroad.

I am an organizer with BAYAN-USA, an umbrella organization with 17 groups across the country aligned with the principles of the ND movement, due to the conditions that I have experienced from integrating with people in the Philippines who are struggling everyday to survive. In the US, I have heard countless stories of overseas workers who fall victim to the exploitation at the hands of their employers.

A current example of this is the plight of the Pilipino workers at Grand Isle Shipyard in Louisiana. Welders there toil under dirty, dangerous, and demeaning conditions on oil rig platforms. While working on the Black Elk platform, three workers were killed in an explosion. A report was sent to the Philippine government, but nothing so far has been done to protect the welfare of and bring justice to these workers.

As a Pilipino American, I feel it is important to let others know about what is happening in my homeland and in my community. In creating art, I am able to illustrate the stories of the Pilipino masses to my audience, inviting them to dialogue and moving them to take action to make a difference internationally.

Michael Peña Luat, aka ‘Artivista’, is a native Californian, San Francisco-based artist/activist  whose works are inspired by the social and political views of the National Democratic movement of the Philippines, as well as protest/revolutionary art from individual artists and collectives from around the world. He is trained by a handful of college classes, but socially acquired techniques through his peers and experimentation. He produces work in various mediums, including pen, acrylic, linocut, and digital media.



TJ Basa, Program Manager
Kearny Street Workshop
(415) 503-0520

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