By: Emme Rose Santiagudo
When a group of artists from Manila and Capiz heard of the city government’s plan to transform vacant walls and spaces into local art spaces, they did not think twice to volunteer for the project.
Manila artist Danger Sanchez said they could not let the opportunity slip away since their group shared the same vision with the city government, particularly in promoting street and public art.
“We really want to volunteer talaga kasi we share the same vision of promoting art through murals and giving back to the community,” he told Daily Guardian on Friday.
From Manila, Sanchez and his team flew all the way to Iloilo City on Tuesday to help transform the vacant walls in the metro.
Their group alongside artists from Capiz, Araut Visual Artists Collective of Dumangas, students of Gamot Cogon Waldorf School, together with students from University of San Agustin (USA) and Ilonggo artists led by Rock Drilon upgraded the dull walls in the city into meaningful murals.
Sanchez and artists Archie Oclos and Dennis Bato, both product of the University of the Philippines (UP) College of Fine Arts, and Andreil Gequillo, a Fine Arts student of USA, worked together on a mural project at the corner of Solis Street and Muelle Loney in City Proper district.
The mural painting is a tribute to Rosita Silva Caballero, a kept maiden or “binukot” of the Panay Bukidnon tribe from the town of Calinog in Iloilo.
According to Sanchez, the mural painting was inspired by the culture of the indigenous group, Panay Bukidnon that resides in several areas in Panay.
“Our first concept was Panay Bukidnon myth so anything related doon tapos nag-deep research kami and since ‘binukot’ was known as one of the treasured bearers of the Panay Bukidnon culture, we decided na the mural would be about binukot,” he said.
The second mural project is located in the series of walls in front of the Iloilo City Community College (ICCC) in San Pedro St. in Molo district.
Sanchez together with Capizeño artists Luigin Aparri, Lloyd Develos, Roberto Oquendo Jr., Aina Shane Martinez, Mercy Audencia, and Nubbin Beldia, who also from Manila, led the second mural project in Molo.
According to Sanchez, the second mural project subdivided into several walls has elements that are mostly inspired by nature, the Panay Bukidnon myth, and the biking community in Iloilo City.
“At the right side you can see the hand and the butterflies because it represents our advocacy of giving back. The circles represent the bicycles since the city is also a biking destination according to Sir Rock Drilon,” he said.
A striking Blue Kingfisher bird painted on the right corner of the mural can easily catch one’s eye with its anamorphic features.
“Behind the bird, you can see the white sand beach na inspired naman by the famous Gigantes island in Carles, Iloilo,” he added.
According to Sanchez, they also involved students from Whaldorf in the second mural project as part of their advocacy to give back to the community.
“Etong wall masisira yan in a few years or weeks, pero yung na-share mo dun sa mga kids and artists, it will be forever cherished by them,” he said.
Sanchez said that through their mural projects, other Ilonggo artists will be inspired to also give back to the community through art.
“Iloilo has so many great artists, muralists, and graffiti artists so I hope tuloy lang nila yung kanilang art, keep doing art, keep creating kasi we really need more public art,” he said.
Mayor Jerry Treñas inaugurated in October 2019 the first mural project of the city government in partnership with local artists at Brgy. Sambag in Jaro district.
The artwork featured key attractions in the city such as the City Hall, the public jeepney and a warrior of the Dinagyang Festival.
The mayor said he wanted to ramp up the local art scene in Iloilo City by transforming vacant walls into mural paintings.
“We are very proud to start this in Iloilo City. The murals represent the pride of Ilonggos,” he said.