Ever sincethe pandemic started De latas orcanned goods are not new to each household. In the early stages of the pandemic,we can remember how each family hoarded canned goods, sanitizers, tissues, facemasks, etc. to survive the lockdown but it’s important to take note that noteveryone had that privilege. Early 2020 not everyone had a house to stay athome. Not everyone had the privilege to work from home. Some had to go to thestreets; some still had to find ways in order to give food to the table. Whileother families were busy hoarding, staying at their air-conditioned homes,watching Netflix, others are busy making ends meet. We were never at the sameboat. We were in the same ocean with different sized boats.
More thana year has passed since the pandemic but Filipinos are still given the bareminimum. When community pantries emerged it was something done out of dire needand negligence. De latas among othergoods were distributed but we shouldn’t even be doing this in the first placeif only our needs were given. In a crisis like this it is the poor thatsuffers. Of course poverty is a hindrance to success. It always has been. Ifeveryone really had the same opportunities to be successful then rags to richesstories wouldn’t be so rare yet many are not ready for that talk. Many stillprefer to stay “positive” and romanticize the resiliency of Filipinos in tryingtimes.
Ade lata as a meal during morning,afternoon, and evening describes the daily living during the pandemic. In somehousehold de latas are not much butit’s everything in some. In my artwork I used discarded steel cans from our ownhousehold. My family is fortunate enough to treat a de lata as the former, and not as our only source of food. Yet formany Filipino families, to have a de latainstead of salt or plain rice is more than enough. The discarded steel cans weremade to resemble a house because of it being common in the pandemic as “ayudas”or goods given to help each family. In the beginning of the pandemic, it wasalso a rule that each household will only receive one “ayuda”. The consumptionof de latas became essential forsurvival during the pandemic. Thus, this artwork is a house made of de latas on top of a pile of de latas not only to represent the struggleand poverty during the pandemic but also the role of canned goods during thepandemic in each household.