Stars Shine as the Darkness Deeper
―Angels in the Philippines―
Venue：Olympus Gallery Osaka (Osaka) ACCESS
Date：2020, Jan, 17 (Fri) - 2２(Wed)／Closed on Thu
Venue：Olympus Gallery Tokyo (Tokyo) ACCESS
Jan, 18 (Sat) 14:00～15:30
There is a cemetery where street children used to gather in Metro Manila. In 2003, I took a photo of a young mother with a baby lying on the tombstone. Four years later, the authority banned outsiders entering the cemetery, then I visited the same place to see the situation of the street children. I was attracted by an innocent boy who was begging money and released the shutter. After coming back to Japan, when I was filing the photos, I was shocked that the baby in the cemetery and the innocent beggar boy was the same child. I was so impressed that the baby on the tombstone had grown well, and it was also a moment of reverence for the children living on the street. Until then, I felt ashamed of myself that street children were a once-in-a-lifetime presence and lived in another world, thinking somewhere in my head. In the wake of my encounter with the boy, Carlos, I became strongly aware that children living on the street share the same time and live. And every time I visited the street, I looked for the children I had met, and if they were not there, I asked what they were doing.
One day, when asked, "How is Jack doing? ", the answer came, "Oh, he died". Jack ran through his whole life in as little as twenty years. I was once again presented with a grim reality, "Is it such a thing to live on the street?", and I was attacked by the sadness of being swept away with a knife. And I felt quiet anger for the absurdity of society. Street children are at risk with crimes. It is difficult for children to survive alone on the street, and many them protect themselves by belonging to gangs. On the other hand, there is always the danger of being used for crime.
I research and interview visiting holding centers as a staff member of KnK (Children without Borders). A boy, Michael (14), who had been jailed for three months, caught by a traffic officer when he was crossing a road ignoring traffic lights. He pleaded his innocent. There is another case, a girl, Maria (13), who was brought to the holding center a week ago, said that she could not be released until her parents pick her up. Many of children have problems with their family and leave home and start living in the street, those who have a weak relationship with their parents.
KnK has given their hands to children who have problems, but it is difficult to catch hands of children lost in the dark. Angels in the dark sometimes flies to opposite of the exit. However, even if it is dark enough to be invisible even a short distance away. We keep extending our hands without giving up.