In continuing this and building on the momentum started since they began, The Den Coffee & Contemporary Culture expands its programming with presentations of contemporary culture focusing on arts, design, music, food, lifestyle, and community engagement in Manila.
For their first presentation in this new phase of The Den, they invited Auggie Fontanilla aka AVGGS, a visual artist who comments on and mirrors Manilaʼs social, physical, and political landscapes through street art, silkscreen prints, and tattoo inspired art. In this presentation, this notorious Manila character stares back at the viewer: a thug-like culture in the urban jungle with its complex history, grappling at the seams of its current condition and facing soon to come realities. AVGGSʼ presentations denote a critical, subversive, and/or satirical observation of this city.
History: Diffused Identity
The history of Manila journeys through war and colonization by the Spanish, Japanese, and the Americans, and in the process diffusing the original identity and structure of the city. Manila has undergone various transformations, the most notable is the replete destruction brought about by the American and Japanese colonizers in the 1945 Battle of Manila, the bloodiest battle in the Pacific theater of World War II, leaving 90% of the city in rubble.
Today: History Repeating
Since then, Manila is crippled with its lost heritage and sense of direction, its struggle is visible up to this day. It is hard to define Manila in a few words. Manila today is comprised of a myriad of complex issues that are layered with adversity plus multicultural manifolds. Todayʼs socio-political landscape of Manila has become the meltdown of this city after decades of ineffective governance and a corruption culture-amplified and institutionalized by the Marcos regime. How do we describe this mutated city of multiple facets, what else can we do about it?
New Colonialism: China in Chinatown, The Philippines as Chinatown
The Den is located in the district of Binondo, where Chinatown is seated, itʼs almost meta how the new China colonization is happening in Manila. A real estate bubble triggered by the legal/illegal influx from the mainland, rapid sprouting of
Chinese / Chinese exclusive establishments, a new bridge nearby with”China Aid” emblazoned on its construction site, Mandarin as the norm for signages, all these herald a new emergence of the creeping Chinese colonialism through capital gains and investments. Should we be scared of this? Or is this just a new era of globalization?
On May 4 they will be celebrating The Den’s new direction with their inaugural offering: Doon sa Maynila, an exhibition by Auggie Fontanilla. There will be an all- day listening party (Equatorial Records #1), a curated makerʼs market (Saturday X Future Market Special), a special video screening (from Within) and the launch of the Den’s new menu and merchandise plus many more surprises!
So, join The Den as they celebrate coffee, contemporary culture, and everything in-between!
Website is best viewed on a portrait orientation on your device.