They say art has no real, practical use—but in times as hard as this, it might be one of the last few things we can hold on to. One book has been made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, First There Were Rocks, Then There Was the World, a joint project between Where to Next and Fund the Forest. In it are illustrations and anecdotes by local artists and, as this e-book was made "for our times," 100% of the proceeds will be used to support our frontliners. Each copy costs P350 and can be ordered through the Where to Next site.
The book was born out of a feeling of helplessness during the first few days of the quarantine, says Ayen dela Torre of Where to Next in a conversation with SPOT.ph. "To get others to act, we must tell stories," she adds, so when Issa Barte of the Fund the Forest organization approached them with the idea of a collab, they were all for it. "We’re at a time of closed doors and shut borders— it’s easy to feel disconnected. This e-book was our way of connecting again to make a difference," says Barte.
Twenty-three people came together to make this book a reality. Photographers, writers, and illustrators centered around the idea of rocks—objects which have somehow remained immovable despite the changing times. "The rocks are the hindrances, the unjust systems, and the ignorance that prevents us from creating meaningful change," according to the book's description.
A part of the book honors fallen heroes as well: Dr. Raul Diaz Jara, Dr. Marcelo Joachico, Dr. Gregorio Macasaet III, Dr. Rose Pulido, Dr. Israel Bactol, and Dr. Sally Gatchalian, just a few who gave their lives in the fight against the pandemic.
Proceeds will be used to support different sectors currently serving the front lines—"our healthcare workers, fishermen, farmers, delivery people, security and janitorial personnel" among others. From the first wave of copies, proceeds will go straight to the Philippine General Hospital Foundation; succeeding waves will benefit more groups who need all the help they can get.
"We plan to take it one week at a time while collaborating with other organizations who are doing what they can to help," explains Dela Torre. The groups hope that this hopeful book will get readers to move and start their own fundraisers as well, but at the very least, one copy will mean a lot for "everyone at the front lines fighting for a future that can look back at a past that never gave up."
First There Were Rocks, Then There Was the World (Where to Next and Fund the Forest) is available for download online through the Where to Next website. Each copy is P350.
Main image courtesy of Where to Next
* This story originally appeared on Spot.ph. Minor edits have been made by the Preview.ph editors.
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