Green Papaya is an artist-run space that shares a building with Catch272, a bar and events space in Kamuning, Quezon City. Both Green Papaya and Catch272 were affected by a fire that happened this morning at 10 am. Photos and videos of the incident that circulated on social media caught the attention of patrons of the establishments.
Catch272 caught fire. This place is a refuge for LGBTQIA+ folks and progressive orgs. It’s queer-run and owned, too.
They were scheduled to re-open ng June 12. They haven’t asked for it but they might need our help soon.
— Nicky 🌈 #JunkTerrorBill #SulongWagPatinag (@nickyhcastillo) June 3, 2020
According to Green Papaya’s Facebook post “This morning a fire started around 10 a.m. at the 2nd floor of Donna’s Furniture shop, our next-door neighbor. Aplue Apauls was inside cleaning up at Catch272. She messaged and posted on Facebook to alert us. By the time Apauls came out, the fire was already spreading fast in Papaya’s archives upstairs. Barangay Kamuning was alerted and soon, firemen came. The ground floor ceiling collapsed. Fire also spread next door to our neighbor Rosalie, but they had more time to gather their things. Papaya/Catch buffered them from further damage. The fire department’s on-scene investigators say it was an electrical fire. They were kind enough to let us salvage what we can from the debris once they determined it was safe to do so. No one was hurt.”
Netizens share how they’ve come to known Catch272 and Green Papaya as not just a venue but as a community that welcomes activists, LGBTQIA+ patrons, and artists whose works are experimental or not typically seen in large galleries.
Ang sakit nito. Catch272 was a safe space for progressives, for activists, for queer people. A place where, for example, I felt safe performing in drag for the first time while tearing up DU30’s portrait. These spaces are invaluable to our community. Let’s help them rebuild. https://t.co/kEhRSk6UwB
— Luther Aquino (@lutheraquino) June 3, 2020
this is terrible 🙁
Catch272 was our regular venue for @SocialistCircle events. it hosted us for film screenings and parties and discussion groups.
my thoughts are w/ the wonderful owners and people who worked there. they deserve whatever help and support people can give. https://t.co/YXspoRXWut
— Rafael La Vina (@rafalavina) June 3, 2020
Messages of support have poured in Green Papaya’s post about the incident. There are also comments voicing concerns for Green Papaya’s archival efforts being affected by this incident.
Green Papaya publicly revealed that they were preparing for its closure in 2021 during Asia Society’s Arts & Museum Summit in 2017. They have been conducting archival work in preparation for their closure in 2021.