Hanging by a thread: Pandemic realizations from Ilonggo artists

Published February 24, 2021, 10:26 AM

by Tara Yap

For this year’s National Arts Month celebration, Ilonggo artists have collaborated in creating a mural that speaks of realizations since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out early in 2020.

In the “We Hide No More” exhibition at SM City Iloilo, Himbon Contemporary Ilonggo Artists group unveiled the mural that depicts a rustic and old school Filipino practice—or Asian practice, for that matter—of hanging clothes to dry.

Harry Mark Gonzales, Sonny Tolentino, Vic Nabor, Anthony Castillo, Noel Epalan, Marrz Capanang, Aljerico Saraum, Daryl Dalipe, Gilbert Labordo, Nick Lanes, Eros Endencia,  Ariel Pineda, Norman Acedera, and Juben Iwag had their own iterations of clothes.

But the haláyan, which is the Hiligaynon word for clothesline, illustrates the varied and distinctive private thoughts of each of the artists that may also be open to public scrutiny.

“While clothesline in art is not exactly novel, Himbon artists have made the subject less prosaic by daring to expose their innermost guarded tensions—thereby allowing themselves to become vulnerable to judgement, not like when people see intimate apparel hanging in very public places,” writes University of the Philippines (UP Visayas) professor Martin Genodepa, who is himself an artist.

The mural also juxtaposes private matters that may also resonate to the community at large.

“This is an apt representation of of a beautiful and idyllic agricultural land, very much like those found in Iloilo or anywhere—threatened by contemporary issues made complex by COVID-19: health and safety apprehensions, socio-economic anxieties, environmental concerns, existential questions, and spiritual dilemmas,” Martin adds.

The exhibition that runs until Feb. 28, 2021 has the support of UP Visayas Office of Initiatives in Culture and the Arts (UPV-OICA) and Eskinita Art Gallery as well as the partnership of SM City Iloilo and Boysen Paints.

Artists’ realizations

I just want to simply portray in a realistic way how people continue to fight for survival in a pandemic. The pandemic can only keep us in for so long but it cannot crush the human spirit to survive.

Sonny Tolentino

The phrase ‘new normal’ has become a household expression during the time of pandemic.The octopus is a beast of flexibility and change. It is able to adjust and adapt depending on the condition of its surroundings, enabling it to survive even the unbearable pressures of the deep sea. But can we say the same to humans and the human mind? Will we be able to adapt and accept this great reset or do we stay adamant and refuse to receive this mark of change?

Noel Epalan

The Flutist is a call for a change in paradigm on how we treat the world as a whole. This pandemic is the time to reflect on the damages dealt by consumerism and over extraction of natural resources. The flutist is the central energy that calls out our attention and intention to realign to a deeper understanding of our role as human beings. The world can naturally heal, it would be faster with our help.

Marrz Capanang

Children are the most affected by this pandemic and its effect will not be equal in every country.The most affected will be those from the poorest countries. The effect will be lifetime for most of them. The only hope is to support them morally,spiritually and financially since they cannot make a living. But above everything else they must continue to play,pray and learn so as to prepare them for the challenges of the future whom only God knows how will He shape it. They will always have their Guardian Angel to ward off the wrath of the devil.

Vic Nabor

My work is about the struggle in finding means to eliminate this pandemic, the hand administering an injection process represents all the authorities of the world trying to develop a cure but is hindered by lack of knowledge and represented by the barbed wire ….though the ripper seems victorious in introducing covid for human extinction ,the light above the hand still represents hope and supremacy of our lone creator our most gracious loving father the Almighty God.

Nick Lanes

The night gown represents us.The syringes are the vaccines coming from different sources. The sweating heart and the question mark represents our doubts about the vaccine and until when this covid 19 pandemic will end. The termite house represents nations draining funds caused by this pandemic. The only hope is our faith represented by the cross as seen by the heart.

Norman Vincent Acedera

 People are tired, exhausted, doubtful, and some or most doesn’t even believe that the virus is real anymore. It has been almost a year since the virus came in our country. Let me remind you that it is real! We, as your health care provider, are tired and exhausted, too. It is never too late to defeat this pandemic. Unity is the key. Let’s help each other and follow health protocols. Let’s start with the basic and wear our mask properly. Let’s make sure that when we wear our mask it should cover both our nose and mouth.

Daryl Dalipe