Jennilyn Olayres holds her partner Michael Siaron, 30, a pedicab driver who was shot and killed by unknown motorcycle riding gunmen along Pasay Rotonda, EDSA on July 23, 2016. A placard was left beside the victim's body which says, "Drug pusher ako, wag tularan" (I’m a drug pusher, do not copy me)., ©: Raffy Lerma
The family of alleged drug peddler Paul Lester Lorenzo mourn after he was killed in a police anti-illegal drug operation in Manila on August 17, 2016. Lorenzo, who was killed along with Danny Laurente, allegedly fired at the police after a drug transaction. According to the report, ten sachets of "shabu,” the local term for methamphetamine were recovered from the victims., ©: Raffy Lerma
A closer look at the .38-caliber pistol allegedly used by policeman and alleged drug pusher Bobby Orit, following a "shootout" during a drug buy-bust operation on July 21, 2016. Orit and his company Danilo Guevarra were killed after allegedly firing at policemen, upon sensing the undercover operation. Orit was absent without leave (AWOL) from his duty as a policeman, and was in the drug watchlist of the community., ©: Raffy Lerma
Raffy Lerma / Nightshift
09. November 2018 to 16. December 2018
Opening / Thursday, November 8th, 2018 / from 6 pm
In cooperation with the
exground filmfest 31
16 to 25 November 20188
Supported by Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain.
Raffy Lerma’s photo of Jenny Olayres holding her partner Michael Siaron gained international attention. He was a rickshaw driver, accused drug trafficker, and was shot dead on 23 July 2016 by armed strangers. The photograph is reminiscent of Christian Pietà representations and thus served as a symbol of the suffering of the primarily poor population of the Philippines under the violent policies of President Rodrigo Duterte. His photographs will be shown in an institutional solo exhibition for the first time.
As part of the Nightshift Group, a group of nocturnal photojournalists, Raffy Lerma (*1978, Manila) testifies of the implementation and impact of the anti-drug policy of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in vivid images. The documentary photographies focus on the victims of the government’s strict anti-drug policies. Ostensibly, they show violence, blood and corpses, while at the same time highlighting the bereaved in their deepest grief. Short descriptive texts on the events reveal the context of the photographs.
In his official inaugural speech, President Duterte dismissed Lerma’s famous photograph as excessively dramatic. Duterte's election campaign called for tough crackdowns on crime and corruption. A major element was the announcement to consistently combat the drug trade, a goal which justified State violence. According to Human Rights Watch, since coming to power in May 2016, an estimated 12,000 suspected drug users and traffickers have been killed, mostly from poor backgrounds – usually by "armed strangers."
The Nightshift Group, named after their working hours from 9 pm to 5 am, advocates the humanization of these victims and calls for government accountability. This group is an informal collective of photojournalists, journalists and filmmakers, gathered in the early months of the Philippine Drug War to collect information on the latest crime scenes, planned police operations, names and details of victims, and to document these murders. Their pictures have exposed the brutal reality of Duterte's actions against the public and provided necessary evidence for human rights groups to condemn the rising violence.
In cooperation with the exground filmfest 31 and on the occasion of this year’s country focus, the Nassauischer Kunstverein Wiesbaden is showing three solo exhibitions of Filipino artists, journalists and activists. Martha Atienza, Kiri Dalena and Raffy Lerma reflect in videos and photographs the political and social situation of their homeland.
Photojournalist Raffy Lerma (*1978, Manila) began his career during his studies in Visual Communication at the College of Fine Arts at the University of the Philippines Diliman with reports of street protests that led to the overthrow of former President Joseph Estrada in 2001. He first worked as a photographer and later as an image editor for the Philippines Collegian, the official student publication of Diliman University. In 2004, Lerma was the Philippine representative for World Press Photo - Asia Europe Foundation's Forum for Young Photographers in Hanoi, Vietnam. In 2007 he graduated in photojournalism at the Konrad Adenauer Asian Center for Journalism at Ateneo de Manila University. Raffy Lerma worked as a photographer for the Philippine Daily Inquirer for twelve years before becoming self-employed in 2017 as part of the Nightshift Group to focus on documenting the drug war in the Philippines. Lerma has lectured in various parts of the Philippines and around the world to teach the public about the realities of the drug war in his home country. He lives and works in Manila.
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