Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Statement of People’s Art Network and ICPC on 1st anniversary of detention of artist and political activist Ericson Acosta

February 13, 2012 — Bound by our commitment to people’s rights forged in the International Conference on Progressive Culture (ICPC) held in Manila in July 2011, we join our fellow artists, writers and cultural workers in the Philippines and beyond in their clamour to release Filipino artist Ericson Acosta from unjust detention.

Ericson Acosta was arrested by the Philippine military in Samar province one year ago on February 13, 2011. Ericson is known to his peers at the University of the Philippines as a poet, thespian, singer and journalist. He was an active member of the Concerned Artists of the Philippines during its re-establishment in the last decade. He was seized during a visit to Bay-ang in San Jorge, Samar, a highly-militarized village, as a volunteer researcher on human rights and the environment for a local peasant group. Such arrests have become commonplace under the US-inspired Oplan Bayanihan counterinsurgency plan that targets civilians working with the poor and underprivileged.

We admire Acosta’s unwavering commitment to the cause of justice and freedom as an artist and cultural worker. It is this sense of responsibility to people and society that has led him to work in the grassroots and create art with the people.

Even in detention, Ericson Acosta continues to craft poetry and songs highlighting the plight of political prisoners in the country. Online, his prison diary JAILHOUSE BLOG and the PRISON SESSIONS recording of his songs from behind bars have generated interest from listeners and readers around the globe. His work as an artist and activist is recognized by various cultural and human rights groups in the USA, Canada, Asia and Europe.

We urge Philippine authorities to free Ericson Acosta immediately as we reaffirm our pledge to create people’s art and work to shape the society of the future.

The People’s Art Network, which was established following the ICPC, believes that, like Ericson Acosta, artists must go to the grassroots and bring art to our communities, to the people, to our people. Artists must resist curtailment of our freedom of expression, fight for the peoples’ rights and welfare, remember our history and ancestors and continue their struggles for freedom and walk along with our peoples to end injustice in our world.

Oppose attacks on artists and cultural workers, particularly those facing repression, imprisonment and worse due to the link between their art and their involvement in the people’s struggle.




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