Sunday, July 7, 2024

SLICES OF TIME: Reflecting social realities through the lenses of Efren Ricalde

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

SLICES OF TIME: Reflecting social realities through the lenses of Efren Ricalde gives us snapshots of the struggle of the Filipino people. The exhibit juxtaposes norms with more than 80 photographs taken in different timelines in and out of the country. Previously, the exhibit was conceptualized by individuals like Raymund Villanueva taking note of the importance of documentation of the busy city life of the urban poor and working class to the detached cycle of the remote barrios. 

One of the organizations that helped design the exhibition was Concerned Artists of the Philippines emphasizing on the visual chronicles of Philippine society. The series of photographs shows everything from the calmness the sunset brings, innocence of a kid’s smile, to the tiring day of the working class. 

Curated by multi-awarded photojournalist Mel Cortez, SLICES OF TIME features beautiful sceneries from several provinces of the Philippines and neighboring Asian countries. One of the most compelling shots in the collection is that of the central business district of Mandaluyong – the tall buildings, and almost occupied residential areas of the city. Mount Hibok-Hibok also known as Catarman Volcano in Camiguin Island is also featured as a picturesque view along with the hot spring. 

The exhibition also displays the call of the toiling masses for equal opportunity for living minimum wage, the cry of families against injustice and human right violations, and environmentalists’ distress on development aggression through time. A recognizable portrait that Ricalde framed is that of former Chairperson of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (New Patriotic Alliance) Carol Araullo, where she shows frustration as police refused to silence their loudspeakers during a 2015 anti-APEC protest mobilization at Liwasang Bonifacio, Manila. 

There are also mobilization photos in this collection from different milestones of the democratic movement in the Philippines – from the late dictator Marcos, Aquino administration, 2010 up to present. 

Organized by EMC2 Fraternity as part of the UP Arts and Culture Festival 2024, Slices of Time is co-presented by UP Diliman Office for Initiatives in Culture and the Arts and will run from July 2 to 11, 2024 at the Ignacio B. Gimenez Gallery at UP Diliman. This exhibition is in honor of fellow activists and College of Engineering alumni Mon Ramirez and Chad Booc.


Efren Ricalde, the artist behind Slices of Time, is a seasoned photographer by passion and a technical director/ IT expert by profession. He has taken advanced courses to hone his skills in photography for the people. His works are published in alternative online news media.

Ricalde has been taking photos of the common people from the different walks of life, by the people and for the people for decades now. His shots usually reflect the plight of the Filipino masses – workers, farmers, youth, professionals and the intricacies of their everyday life and survival. He believes that his talent is developed to render service to the country, in fact one of his remarkable shots is a grand tableau in the play "Maghimagsik! Andres Bonifacio: Rebolusyonaryo, Anakpawis.

Ka Efren, as he is fondly called by his close friends in the people’s movement, believes that it is his appreciation both for the artistic and technical aspect of the craft that lets him still do voluntary photography for the “common tao.” He can be usually seen patiently waiting for the right elements – composition, lighting, and subject to be framed perfectly. This keeps him grounded, seeing the day-to-day hustle of people making ends meet, appreciating the beauty of nature, and capturing the decisive moments for his portrait and landscape shots.

Ricalde is very enthusiastic of making images with narrative combined with technical elements of photography making his shots well loved through the years. He is also into compiling the most iconic portrait of the mass leaders of the movement. Some of the personalities that he has photographed are: Carol Araullo, Sarah Elago, Sister Pat, and among others.

When he is not shooting photos, he is busy playing lawn tennis, or making a new malunggay recipe.

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