Kiri Dalena: Artist Activist

A Fun Fearless Female 2010 Awardee, this artist and filmmaker tells Cosmo about her greatest achievement--something she wants for all women, too.
With reports from Samantha Echavez

This 34-year-old visual artist and filmmaker might come off as a quiet person, but it's her work that really speaks volumes for those who cannot speak for themselves or can no longer tell their stories. Her documentaries and art installations are the voice of those with no voices: victims of human rights violations. Kiri Dalena and her fellow activists from the Southern Tagalog Exposure group ruffle some dangerous feathers, but they refuse to be silenced by fear because their message is far too important.

In this online exclusive interview, Kiri talks to about slightly lighter topics, like her hopes for the future of art, especially for female artists like herself.

How does being a woman help you as an artist?

We create, we give birth to babies, we create life, so I think it's there. I think being an artist is not limited to the act of making artworks, but it's the life that you lead; nurturing life and sustaining a home.

As a woman artist, I really look forward to the time when you no longer say "a woman artist," kasi it means that you've already crossed that point na you're equal with men. You don't call men "male artists," so it just means that, statistically, there are still fewer women artists around. And I'm certain that [is still] rooted in the situation, the economic situation wherein women have to tend to the home and men have more time and more opportunities to develop their skills and their vision and put it into reality. I look forward to the time when we no longer call ourselves "women artists."

Describe your dream project.

Honestly, I'm at this point wherein I don't have...long-term dreams. I hope it's just a phase, but I just go from point A to point B, siguro kasi it's so hard. Ngayon pa lang, it's so hard to ascertain where I'm going. Kaya parang, I feel it's difficult na magkaroon ng malayong tanaw sa ngayon.

What do you think your most significant achievement is?

I just feel very happy that I'm alive, I can do things that I love to do, and I have my dad and my mom and my sisters, and they're all here. Alam mo 'yon? Simple as that. Sometimes I'm just so happy to be alive. To be able to do something that I love to do. I think I'm so fortunate to be able to do that and I want others to do that, too.

Launch our Gallery by clicking the button below to see behind-the-scenes pictures of the shoot with Kiri Dalena. See snapshots from the Awards Night, which Kiri attended, when you click on this link.

Grab the May 2010 issue of Cosmopolitan with Bea Alonzo on the cover to get to know Kiri even more and see the rest of the Fun Fearless Female Awardees.

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