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The Weight of Words: An Alphabet of Human Rights

“The Weight of Words: An Alphabet of Human Rights” is one of the ongoing exhibits at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

It is organized by The Center for Art, New Ventures, and Sustainable Development (CANVAS), a non-profit organization that “promotes children’s literacy, explore national identity, and broaden public awareness Philippine art, culture, and environment”.

CANVAS is known to engage its audience to participate in social discourse. This exhibition is part of their “Looking for Juan Program”, which is a collaboration of various artists and writers across the country to use the arts to discuss social issues.

J– Justice by Dan Matutina | Acrylic and metal

“The scale is a universal symbol of Justice. But it also calls to mind questions of balance itself. How does one balance the desire for human rights against other goals? Are societal goals, like peace and security in community, higher than the interests of the individual? Are these goals mutually exclusive, and does the pursuit of one justify the disregard for human rights?” – Dan Matunina


The works in the exhibition are published in a book that was distributed to less fortunate communities in the country for CANVAS’ “1 Million Books for 1 Million Filipino Children” campaign. It aims to promote functional literacy by providing books for public schools, communities, and hospitals across the country. The book was launched last December 10 (National Day of Human Rights).

A page from The Weight of Words featuring E- Empathy by Jom Masolabe | Laser-printed acrylic sheets


By using letters, artists and designers like Dan Matutina, Electrolychee, Ang Gerilya, John Ed De Vera, Jom Masolabe, June Digan, Jeith Dador, Kevin Roque, Lala Gallardo, Meneer Marcelo, Palma Tayona, and Wesley Valenzuela reflect on human rights and its importance.

The letters are akin to reading and writing classes; the basics--or the essentials of--human rights, makes the viewer better understand language in its simplest form.


The Weight of Words exhibition is on display until January 21, 2018 at Pasilyo Guillermo Tolentino and Pasilyo Victorio Edades galleries