I-Witness documentarists Howie Severino and Atom Araullo will share a selection of what they’ve seen in many years of coverage in a series of photo exhibits in SM malls. The first leg opens this August 21 at SM Santa Rosa in Laguna. The exhibits are being produced in partnership between I-Witness and SM Malls.
Titled “Unmasked,” the exhibits will mainly feature photos shot while Atom and Howie were producing I-Witness stories as varied as a non-violent way to conduct the drug war and the plight of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. They’ve journeyed to numerous far-flung places, including an island that lost all its land, and documented desperate people whose stories ached to be told.
In one episode, the documentarist became the story, as Howie was among the country’s first Covid survivors. His documentary, “Ako si Patient 2828,” was one of the most watched Philippine documentaries on YouTube in recent memory, and won Best Documentary in the Gawad Tanglaw Awards in 2020. Just before he got sick, Severino was an evacuee from the Taal Volcano eruption of 2020. He lives on the shores of Taal Lake. That experience too is featured in the exhibit.
“Unmasked” remembers a world just before the pandemic shut it down and celebrates a return to interactions where faces are visible once again.
Atom will share photographs taken during his travels and documentary-making in the Philippines and abroad. Some of these include his trip to Bangladesh for his first documentary for I-Witness, “Silang Kinalimutan.” The documentary showed the story of Rohingya refugees who fled to neighboring Bangladesh after the Myanmar government denied them citizenship. It won a Gold Medal in the 2018 U.S. International Film & Video Festival for Documentary: Social Issues category.
“This exhibit is a chance for us to share our work in the real world, away from screens, and interact with real people and not just names online,” says Howie, who will be at the SM Sta. Rosa opening with Atom.
“I’ve always been fascinated by the power of still images in telling a story. By bringing our photographs to a larger audience through this exhibit, we can keep the discussion going, and perhaps inspire other storytellers out there,” shares Atom.
Aside from doing documentaries for I-Witness, Atom co-anchors GTV’s flagship newscast State of the Nation with Maki Pulido. He is also regularly seen as a guest anchor for GMA’s 24 Oras. He headlines the bi-monthly The Atom Araullo Specials.
Philippine Seas, his first documentary as a returning Kapuso, took home a Gold Medal at the 2018 U.S. International Film & Video Festival and won at the AIBs in London. This was followed by numerous accolades for his various work as a news anchor and journalist, including the Bronze medal at the 2022 New York Festivals TV & Film Award for his I-Witness documentary “Koronang Tinik (Crown of Thorns).” Atom is the first recipient of the Outstanding Media Personality Award at the 2023 Lasallian Scholarum Awards of De La Salle University. He also took home the First Prize in the Essay Writing competition at the 70th Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature for his “Letter from Tawi-Tawi.”
In addition to his documentary work, Howie is editor-at-large for GMA News Online and hosts the podcast “The Howie Severino Podcast.” In 2014, he mounted his first photo exhibit, “Stare: Through the Lens of Howie Severino,” also at SM malls.
“Unmasked” will run until May 26, 2024. It will be at SM City Santa Rosa from August 21 to 30, 2023. The public can also catch the exhibit at SM City San Pablo, SM City Calamba, SM City Tanza, SM City Molino, SM City Trece Martires, SM City Dasmariñas, SM City Batangas, SM City Lipa, SM City Lucena, SM City Daet, SM City Naga, SM City Legazpi, and SM City Sorsogon.
A complete schedule will be announced soon.