MANILA CALLING #5:Ilona Fiddy, Kilusan Collective

by Leonard

“Light a Candle”.  It is the simple Filipino answer to so many problems.  Symbolically, lighting a candle for a Filipino means putting all our faith in God’s powers in the hope that our prayers will be answered.  It’s so funny that as heavy as life sometimes is (especially for Filipinos) that a simple stick of cooled wax around a string costing fractions of pennies (to us, that is) can carry the weight of literally millions upon millions of prayers prayed daily.

Tito Len Takes Shitty Pictures #5: Wiggedy Wiggedy Wiggedy WAX

Tito Len Takes Shitty Pictures #5: Wiggedy Wiggedy Wiggedy WAX

Ilona Fiddy’s piece, which is part of the Kilusan Exchange Exhibit at Rolly’s Garage (124 Ossington) uses candles too.  Lots of candles.  Lit candles with tongues of flame, wax dripping on weathered wood, rudimentary nailed together but standing firm regardless.  The centre of the piece is the opposite; manufactured and bought — lit not by fire, but by electricity and emblazoned with the Virgin Mary, now appearing on a vase, probably mass-produced in Taiwan (shouldn’t we be praying to the candles instead?)

Picture 4

Subtract Muslims, Pagans and bad Catholics from the mix and if the remaining Filipinos in the Philippines prayed at least one prayer a day, maybe two (because you KNOW no one is just praying for one thing), that’s at least 1 billion candles served.  One Billion Candles served, many of those fittingly at the McDonald’s of Philippine Catholicism — Quiapo Church — where its like a Playland but its not Big Macs its the Big Guy up above and not Fries, but Friars.  Quarter Pounders replaced by Augustinian and Franciscan Founders.  No waxy cups, just wax candles.  A shitload of candles.  One Billion Served.


The idols we pray to are intricate just like the centre pieces of Ilona Fiddy’s exhibit.  Glass and plastic, garishly painted, over-designed and plugged into a wall.   Bathed in soft tungsten light.  Or worse, flourescent.    

But candles are cheap.  Abundant and countless.  But disposable and easily replaceable.

Does the same go for our prayers?




—-The Details—-


May 15 – 23, 2009 Weekday Gallery hours: 3PM – 8PM

Five artists.
Two cities.
One crazy exchange.

{ Alex Felipe }{ Ilona Fiddy }{ Jeff Garcia }{ Jennifer Maramba}{Tiffany Naval Jr}

with special international guest artist: { Carlos Celdran }

What happens when you take a group of Canadian-born Filipino artists and throw them across the ocean to go face-to-face with the land that they were raised by, but never knew?

Explore the story to be told of having one identity rooted in two cultures

A trip to the Philippine metropolis of Manila
An intense exchange with Carlos Celdran, the dubbed “Pied Piper of Manila”
And the integration of it all back into the Canadian metropolis of Toronto

A multimedia & multi-perspective cultural art show-of-sorts.

May 15 – 23, 2009 Weekday Gallery hours: 3PM – 8PM

STARTING TOMORROW!!  May 22 & 23, 8PM : Spoken word, multi-media rendition of famous Intramuros tour by Carlos Celdran

~ by Leonard on May 21, 2009.

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