Through his notable works, as well as his memorable walking tours, we remember his views and wonderful insights.
On October 8, 2019, we bid farewell to the renowned cultural activist, artist, and tour guide Carlos Celdran. He may have left the world too soon, but his legacy, one that spans taking a stand and voicing out his views on issues will continue to inspire us to do similar. Through his works, Carlos impressed upon us to appreciate our country’s history, learn from it, and have the courage to be critical especially in these challenging times. Today, we celebrate the legacy of a unique artist and a passionate activist.
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His remarkable works
Known for voicing his strong social and political views, the cultural activist has been under fire for a lot of his opinions, most especially his September 2010 protest against the Catholic Church’s opposition to the Reproductive Health bill. The Church filed a blasphemy case against him and he had to face prison time for “offending religious feelings.” Yet from the reactions and responses of many, it was clear they understand his views and strong feelings on the issue.
Apart from his notable “anti-church” protest, Carlos was a performance artist and writer with a passion for producing Manila-centered works. Among of which is the famed “If These Walls Could Talk” walking tour. From teachers and students to art enthusiasts and fellow artists, people have delighted in Carlos’ highly animated, visceral, and insightful experience. The one-man show immersed guests in Manila’s history as narrated through stories, videos, and theater.
The sequel to the tour is titled, Livin’ La Vida Imelda, produced in New York, Copenhagen, and Toronto. The monologue features geopolitical adventure from post-war Manila to the present yet the narrative focuses on former First Lady Imelda Marcos. “I just want to paint a more nuanced picture of the Philippines and its history,” Carlos said in an interview. “As long as people view Imelda as a cliché, we will be viewed that way as well. I just want to destroy that cliché,” he explained.
Carlos and his works may have been a point of censorship issues. Yet his social and political views remain unforgettable. Apart from the artistic expressions of history and less known narratives about the country, what we can take from his legacy is his passion and conviction to take a stand on issues. Carlos remained strong and firmly believed in his principles. In these challenging times, we celebrate his legacy and get inspired to do similar in our way.