Visual Artist, Filmmaker, Revolutionary
February 4, 1988 – January 12, 2021
Aleta Kim Garcia was a visual artist and filmmaker with a heart for her fellow Filipinos, dedicating her short life to the pursuit of Filipino nationalist and democratic ideals.
Described by Migrante.NL as “a punk, a thrasher, and a skate master” who was also a revolutionary, Garcia created films supporting underprivileged people as a member of the progressive multimedia collective Southern Tagalog Exposure. She was also a member of fact-finding missions and rapid response teams assigned to the region to respond to cases of human rights violations. She generously shared her talent, conducting art workshops for children from underserved areas.
Garcia was averse to oppression and exploitation, and to declare this she wore a prominent tattoo of animated film character Princess Mononoke, the protagonist of Hayao Miyazaki’s film masterpiece, who espouses the values of courage and fighting back against forces that seek to destroy nature.
While in the Netherlands to be with her mother, Garcia did volunteer work for the Filipino youth organization Anakbayan Europe and Linangan Culture and Arts Network – Willem Geertman Brigade.
Her desire for societal transformation went beyond a punk’s passion for a new world order out of chaos. Her vision for the Philippines was one of democratic transformation and long-term peace, with the capitalist and imperialist systems becoming relics of the past.
Garcia was a courageous woman who proved her doctor wrong by surviving for three years after being diagnosed with cancer and given only a few days to live.
An inspiring quote from Princess Mononoke – “You cannot alter your fate. However, you can rise to meet it” – perfectly describes Kim’s remaining years. Her will to stay well and strong so she could continue her work was stronger than the cancer consuming her body. Surrounded by her husband-comrade and her other fellow comrades, Kim passed away peacefully in Amsterdam.