Artists and activists come together to help communities in need stand on their feet.
Hope lasts, in the form of shoe molds. Project Hulmahan is a charity organization that repurposes discarded hulmahan (shoe lasts) that were originally made for shoe factories in Marikina, the Shoe Capital of the Philippines, into works of art. From now until May 20, a selection of artworks will be displayed in the Grand Lobby and Art Gallery of The Manila Hotel.
The exhibition brings together a series of artworks created by hundreds of volunteer, established and emerging artists and creatives. Among those, there will be artworks by maestro Ryan Cayabyab, filmmaker Kidlat Tahimik, sculptors Pete Jimenez, Jonathan Dangue, Julie Lluch-Dalena, and internationally acclaimed actor Dolly De Leon. The project is led by Zena Bernardo, a member of Ladies Who Launch and a co-founder of Bayanihang Marikenyo at Marikenya. She is also the mom of Patricia Non, who famously started the Maginhawa community pantry.
After witnessing the shutdown of several shoe manufacturers in her hometown of Marikina and seeing shoe lasts being discarded or used as firewood, Bernardo purchased over 500 pairs of shoe lasts with the intention of transforming them into artworks as a means to raise funds for community-based projects. The project is spearheaded by the four-woman team Ladies Who Launch, which also includes Dolly De Leon, Judith Albano, and Jasmine Ong. They were also founders of a community kitchen that assisted people with hot meals during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The project’s emphasis on hulmahan is translated by the materiality of the object, the shoe lasts that mold the shape of shoes, but it also transcends the artworks. Indeed, Bernardo highlights how “Hulmahan is about molding a person and molding a society. We want to give dignity back to the community; we consider them as partners in our community-based projects and not beggars.”
The project’s core is about community building in order to support those in need, especially during challenging times. As a culmination of the fundraising endeavor, there will be an auction at the Centennial Hall of The Manila Hotel on May 21. The group have dedicated three organizations to benefit from this event: Bayanihang Marikenyo at Marikenya, The Community Kitchen Project, and UP Artists’ Circle.
Project Hulmahan is on display at The Manila Hotel’s Grand Lobby and Art Gallery until May 20, 2023. Admission is free.
- The Essence of the Subject: 11 Highlights From ‘Avedon 100
- Patrick Coard On Finding Unlimited Creativity and His Latest Exhibit “The King’s Gambit”
- Apo Whang-Od To Be Featured In A New Documentary About Philippine Tattoo Culture
- Dolly de Leon and Martika Escobar To Be Honored By The Film Development Council Of The Philippines