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15 Important Quotes

Updated: Jul 5, 2023

Sunset in Manila. November 2020

This early, I'm calling having met Ken Paranada a highlight of my year. I cold-called him (well, emailed) in January after learning he was appointed the curator of art and climate at the Sainsbury Centre. The interview that followed was ...encouraging to say the least.

I don't know a lot of people able to connect the climate crisis with art, capitalism, colonialism, public transportation, and even religion, so meeting Ken is like meeting a kin.

Below are some important quotes from our interview, which you can (should) read in full here.

1. "Why do humans think they can control nature?"

2. "All of these are hinged upon the idea of development, of enlightenment that led to colonialization — which is horrible — which was soon followed by capitalism and the massive extraction of resources that soon became the norm."

3. "If you go into that root of who caused climate change, obviously it's mostly the rich and powerful nations that comprise the Global North and the industrialization that happened there."

4. "It starts with small things. For example, walk more, take the bus, take public transport."

5. "But it needs to be systemic change because some systems are already untenable. Just really why is it [still] here? It creates so much pollution, so why care for those systems?"

Seen at Vinyl on Vinyl. February 2023

6. "Perhaps in the Philippines, the immediate need to invest more in green, efficient and reliable public transport is vital as these infrastructure projects will ease the traffic, clean the air of cities and encourage the public to take mass public transportation [thereby curbing emissions]. These could be further programmed by introducing cycle lanes and covered walking paths in major thoroughfares."

7. "Government plays a crucial part, so the public must be critical and hold the government accountable for what the future might look like for the Philippine islands in the face of an ever-transforming world."

8. "We need to redefine and assess how the lifestyles of human beings in the 21st century need to be recalibrated in ways that will work with the planet."

9. "The Filipino language already has a poetic and timely portmanteau on climate change. 'Banyuhay' or pagbabagong anyo ng buhay. Is that not fascinating?"

10. "That means a radical restructuring of an unsustainable capitalist-extractivist model, one that prioritizes profit over preserving indigenous peoples' cultures and ancestral lands."

Sunset in Manila. February 2021

11. "While art can't rally people to protect their environment [in an instant], its power lies in making you think in a deeper level. "

12. "We're part and parcel of nature. The idea now is that nature and humanity are no longer separate and our relationship with it will dictate what the future look like."

13. "If you're not affected by the crisis, you will dismiss it."

14. "Understand and renew our relationship with nature and the environment. How can we act together collectively to impact something desirable for the planet?"

15. "If we decide as a people to continue with this capitalist extractivist model of development — I'm uncertain about the future."


Ken's first exhibition, "Sediment Spirit" will open in October 2023 and will run for six months. Here's hoping I get to see it.🤞🏽

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