Apart Together

Freshmen of this batch did not receive the opportunity to begin in Malcolm; not even to meet each other in person, save for very slim and limited chances. Despite this almost absolute absence of personal interaction with each other, would it establish a genuine connection among us? Our answer is in the affirmative. Going to law school, together with the challenge posed by COVID-19, studying this time makes it no less easy than face to face classes, as we try to balance our responsibility to read our books and cases, and our role inside our own respective homes where we help each and every member of our family. Despite the connection that started through video calls and social media applications, and our own personal differences, we want to display this genuine connection through our unified yet independently made artwork which shows our sincerest hopes and aspirations as we look forward to the end of this pandemic. This humble piece of artwork is entitled “Apart Together.”

For Macy, what is more terrifying than waking up to stories of death and suffering is waking up feeling nothing at all. A year in quarantine made her realize that this pandemic has robbed us not only of the company of our friends and loved ones, but also of our capacity to feel and our willingness to be felt. As we brave new paths and try to rebuild tomorrow, may we someday rediscover in ourselves all the emotions we’ve lost along the way. Arif believes that the new reality opens us to infinite reasons to fly high, aimlessly or with purpose, because freedom is elusive, so this is our second chance to be the person we want to be. For Alcis, the sunset represents the completion of the day, and he used this as an inspiration in his artwork because he believes that this pandemic will end soon, for us to welcome another new and hopeful day. It also represents, for him, that, there is still light, as he believes that despite the darkness of the incompetence and complacency of the government, we should be the light to our fellow Filipinos who would always help each other and demand accountability from those who are in power. 

In isolation and just like everyone, Max is weary and frustrated. Though the situation makes us feel helpless, the hope of freedom brings blossoms to mind – new ideas take seed, sprout and grow. Spring breaks loose from our heads, propelling us towards a brighter day. Words Eloi once heard that became words she tries to live by: “If I’m an advocate for anything, it’s to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river.” She is looking forward to the day when we can once again explore unfamiliar places. Through Bianca’s abstract painting, she tried to creatively depict how she is still hopeful that someday, good will triumph over evil despite the current state of the world. There are times when her thoughts and feelings can be too overwhelming for her to handle, but she is grateful for the people around her who bring light and warmth into her life, and give her something to bravely look forward to in the future. On the mountain edge stands a girl holding a plant while watching the sun rise – this, for Whayne, signifies being hopeful for a better tomorrow. The mountain edge represents anxiety during the pandemic, and constantly feeling on edge. The sunrise represents a new beginning for the Filipino people post-COVID. Lastly, the plant displays hope that our generation will be able to turn the tide for our country.

For Kim, during this lockdown, we continue to realize the time we took for granted. However, we also continue to hope and look forward to doing the things we always wanted to do and ticking off all the boxes in our “Post-Lockdown To-Do Lists.” Abby believes that being compelled into this new normal has forced all of us into a smaller pool, making it more likely for us to feel like we are all suspended in one fictitious moment. It becomes normal to feel like we have been swimming in circles, looking at the same colors and looking at the same lonely, endless path ahead. Her hope is that we one day recognize that we are all in the same pool together not as separate, lone creatures, but as a community of like beings that can ride the motions of the water together. A major realization Monchai had in being a first year law school student amidst a pandemic is to be more mindful of her thoughts and that in order to preserve one’s well being, there is a need to filter out the noise and necessarily identify what values one will stand for. Pink, for Pauline, is the color of joy and good health, things she hopes for amidst troubling times during this pandemic. Lastly, other than being some of James’ favorite landscapes, open skies and fields are reminiscent of past freedoms in contrast to the quarantine and isolation that we now face. He is looking forward to going out for some fresh air without fear of sickness once this pandemic is over, and allow his cats to experience more of the outside world as well.

In closing, may this art inspire everyone to stand for one common purpose despite the existing differences and difficulties experienced – that purpose, for us, is not just to pass our subjects and learn but to be able to extend a hand and uplift our fellow men who have always been the least and forgotten during and, most especially, after this pandemic ends.