Kwentong Bayan, Kwentong Bayan: Labour of Love, Comic Excerpt, 2015.


Kwentong Bayan (Althea Balmes + Jo SiMalaya Alcampo), Hector Barretto Calma, Jaret Vadera

A Space Main Gallery

November 18 – December 17, 2016

Essay by: Kim Abis

Opening Reception, Panel, and Performances on Friday November 18th
Panel Discussion 6 – 7 pm
Performances 7 – 8 pm
Reception 8 – 9 pm
Performances by: Pantayo, Anakbayan, and Caregiver Connections Education & Support Organization (CCESO)

The Bayan exhibit is also part of the the first national Anakbayan conference in Canada called "Sulong Kabataan: Onward with the Struggle for People's Liberation and Democracy" from November 18-20, 2016.

The exhibition, Bayan, reveals the evolution and multiple meanings of the word bayan itself as it manifests in the cultural practice in the Philippines and in the diaspora. Bayan, which can refer to the actual archipelago of 7,100 islands, also refers to the nation of the people itself, including the over 10 million Filipinx living outside the country. It is precisely because of its fluidity, yet all-encompassing nature, that the term BAYAN is the short name for the umbrella organization of the sectoral Philippine national democratic organizations all over the world.

At A Space Gallery, the works of Hector Calma, Jaret Vadera and Kwentong Bayan, combine to reveal bayan in various ways, giving us the opportunity to trace its mutations in particular political and geographical contexts. The most significant of these political contexts is that the archipelago is in fact home to the longest-running communist insurgency in Asia. This year, 2016, marks the 50 year anniversary of the Cultural Revolution, and its persistence in breathing life into various liberation struggles worldwide cannot be denied. Bayan pays homage to the cultural workers who have come before us, who have shown us how to hold the pen like a proper cadre would.


NOTE: Kwentong Bayan would like to thank our Kapwatids for their time, energy and tremendous support–ASTIG kayo! Muriam Salam, Gabby Abis, Fatima Khawaja, Duma (Faduma) Gure, Aimee Gomez, Noelle Geniza, Mikaila Artero, Katrina Estacio, Kat Estacio, Tim Manalo, Myung-Sun Kim, Christine Balmes, Renalyn Javier, Joanna Delos Reyes, Eilen Valenzuela, Mika Valenzuala, Phil Da Saliva, Ysh Cabana, Sarah Salise, Tahera Sharif, Samantha Siewdass, Mia Bhuyian, Oreka James.


Kwentong Bayan is an award-winning collective that brings a critical and intersectional approach to labour arts and community-based education. In Tagalog, kwentong bayan is the literal translation of community stories. Althea Balmes (Illustrator) and Jo SiMalaya Alcampo (Writer) are currently working in close collaboration with caregivers and allies to develop the comic book, Kwentong Bayan: Labour of Love about the real life stories of Filipin@ / Filipinx migrant workers. It documents the leadership and organizing work of caregivers in Toronto from the 1970s to present day. An excerpt was published in the print anthology, Drawn to Change: Graphic Histories of Working Class Struggle, edited by the Graphic History Collective with historian, Paul Buhle.

Hector Barretto Calma is a freelance filmmaker, editor, and cinematographer. He is currently working on his Master of Fine Arts in Media Studies and Film at the premier University of the Philippines Film Institute. He also works as a part-time instructor at the De La Salle, College of Saint Benilde and the iAcademy in the Philippines.

Jaret Vadera is an artist and cultural producer. Vadera’s paintings, prints, photographs, videos, and installations have been exhibited and screened at: the Queens Museum; the Museum of Modern Art; the Smithsonian Asian Pacific Center; the Bhau Daji Lad Museum; and the Maraya Art Centre. Vadera completed his undergraduate education at Ontario College of Art and Design University, and Cooper Union. Receiving his Master of Fine Arts from Yale University. Jaret Vadera lives and works between Toronto, New York, and India.

Kim Abis is a community worker and a youth arts educator. He is currently a member of Anakbayan Toronto and works as one of the coordinators of the Centre for Women and Trans People at the University of Toronto. He earned a Masters degree in Environmental Studies from York University, examining how social movements build local capacity to effectively conduct disaster recovery work.