Manileños is a documentary film that explores the lives of several Filipino street artists and what their work says about their worlds.
While the battle to differentiate street art from vandalism still wages, more and more people are warming up to this art form that adds color and provokes thought in the world’s densest city – Manila, Philippines. But in this quickly developing nation, the street art scene is doing more than beautifying a chaotic urban space; it’s becoming an outlet for young, educated voices speaking out against corruption and human rights abuses, discussing the country’s complex identity, and pushing back on the perception of the Philippines as a third world country.
While most Westerners don’t know much about the Philippines, economists certainly do: it’s predicted to be the 6th fastest growing economy in the world over the next 30 years, and in 2013, outpaced even China as the fastest growing economy in Asia. This unprecedented growth is causing many social and political issues that have festered under a historically corrupt government to come to a head. As the country is preparing to step onto the international playing field, the street art scene is coming of age and artists are taking on these issues in their work.