December 1, 2018

The art of communality

by Daisydee Bautista (Published in Pilipino Express December 1-15)

(L-R) Francis Matheu, Marie Angelica Dayao, Dennis Gupa, and Jon Lazam III

ANAK and Migrante Manitoba welcomed theatre artist/director and doctoral scholar Dennis Gupa to Winnipeg, along with artist collaborators from the Philippines: Actor/Choreographer Francis Matheu, Experimental Filmmaker Jon Lazam III, and Music/Sound Designer Marie Angelica Dayao. Together they have created a beautifully complex and multilayered artistic reflection on the impact of natural disasters in the Philippines, Murupuro / The Islands of Constellation. The multimedia theatre piece was shared during two live performances at Prairie Theatre Exchange, where they were also joined by Winnipeg-based artists: Cece Berces, David Oro, Horace Pfeiffer, Joyce Amante Ferrer, Liezel Jacinto, and Vina Dimayuga.

The Tuminungnung Philippine Heritage Youth Forum hosted Filipino-Canadian students on November 2nd for an engaging day exploring this year’s theme: from the land. After a keynote address from Dennis Gupa on his process as an artist, the students were treated to a special preview of the show. Volunteers led discussions unpacking its concepts and the artists conducted a series of workshops for the students to experience the arts and their role in preserving memory and knowledge, and their role in contributing to global conversations. The day concluded with the culmination of everything learned from the day through performances created by the participants.

On November 3rd, the public showing of Murupuro / The Islands of Constellation was followed by a panel discussion featuring Dennis Gupa, student organizer Chance Paupanekis, and visual artist David Oro. ANAK Director and Migrante Manitoba member Johsa Manzanilla moderated the panel discussion, with questions on climate change, decolonization, art, and action. The audience was also invited to interact during the question and answer period, then welcomed to stay for a reception that capped off the evening and provided further opportunity for continued dialogue.

“I think that a part of theatre is communality,” Dennis explained. “You have to be a part of that energy of community to make a presence.”

Many thanks in solidarity to the volunteers for making the events possible and to all who supported and attended, especially Magdaragat Philippines Inc., CUPE Manitoba, Tess Newton (Sun Life Financial), MLA Andrew Swan, Nora Hernandez (World Financial Group), MP Robert-Falcon Oullette, Geyln’s Wedding Lounge, Harvest Barbershop, MP Kevin Lamoureux, and Pilipino Express News Magazine.

Daisydee Bautista is a dedicated volunteer and Chair of ANAK’s Resource Committee. This committee works to acquire and produce culturally-based educational materials and opportunities in Winnipeg, such as events like these. To learn more about ANAK and how to become a volunteer visit or email