LONDON—A remarkable 100-frame Haiyan inspired art collection from Tacloban, the city hardest hit by the Super Typhoon “Haiyan,” will be on display at the Temple Church in London on Nov. 8, 2015. Solely created by 64-year- old artist-survivor Eduardo Echavez Rompal, the unique visual anthology is coming off a successful staging of “Sketches—One Hundred faces of Yolanda” held in Tacloban last June. “Yolanda” is the local name for Haiyan in the Philippines.
Organized under civic group One Tacloban, “Sketches” was hailed by University of the Philippines Leyte Samar Heritage Center as the biggest one-man-art-exhibition ever held in their region. “I agree with the word milestone. It is culturally and historically significant for the people of Eastern Visayas”, said UPLSHC executive director Joycie Dorado-Alegre. She also describes the collection as a lasting memoir depicting the trials and triumphs of the region who, along with a community of nations, successfully turned the tide against one of history’s worst natural calamities.
Titled “Answered Prayers” in London, the art exhibition falls on Remembrance Sunday where British and allied soldiers from the two World Wars are honored across the United Kingdom. Fittingly, the Haiyan mission marks the second time British and Filipinos worked together in a major international operation since 1951. The biggest battle in the Korean War (Battle of Yultong) was fought by British, Filipino and Turkish forces putting to test the then 6-year-old United Nations alliance. Their victory led to the re-establishment of the 38th parallel which holds to this day.
Chairman of Temple Church Ian Mayes, Q.C. aptly explains “this is not the first time British and Filipinos worked alongside each other to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds. We have a shared history in Korea where both our people fought together to save another. It is also but fitting to remember a forgotten part of our histories exactly 65 years later”, he said.
Civic-initiative group One Tacloban, prime mover of Haiyan campaigns in Tacloban is grateful for the Temple Church invitation presenting a local art collection. Represented by its main convener Jeff Manibay, the group sees the London exhibition as a rare opportunity to express gratitude from their communities to the people of Great Britain – one of the biggest donors to the Haiyan humanitarian mission.
On a broader scale, Manibay likewise believes the event provides a chance for Tacloban to stand witness and underscore how international cooperation turned desperate times into a humbling display of humanity’s finest hour. “We cannot thank them enough for restoring dignity to tens of thousands of Haiyan affected families across the three regions. I cannot even begin to tell you how it feels to be at the receiving end of humanitarian aid in very trying times. They are heaven sent “, said Manibay.
Organized in cooperation with the Philippine Embassy in Britain, “Answered Prayers” runs from October 31 to November 15 at the 12th century Triforium of Temple Church in London. Special prayers for Haiyan victims and survivors will be offered during the 10:30am Remembrance Sunday services on Nov. 8
Formal opening and reception for the Tacloban exhibit follows thereafter.
To highlight the special occasion, the Temple Church choir sings classic Waray-Waray song “An Iroy Nga Tuna” (The Motherland) composed by legendary songwriter the late Illuminado Lucente. Acapella arrangement is provided by US-based musician Melvin Corpin. Both Lucente and Corpin are natives of Tacloban City.