Anton Villaruel brings light to the 'Mga Lamang Poste' with his art

Published April 27, 2021, 4:37 PM

by John Legaspi

‘Perhaps another breed of engkanto lives in plain sight of us, in the metal’

Anton Villaruel’s “M Kanto,” “Lamang Poste sa Harap,” and “Laman sa Poste”

Walking during the night in the outskirts of some province can give you all the chilly feel. You hear the rustling of the tree branches and sudden hoots of the birds. While the moon keeps your path alight, sometimes, you can’t help but feel that there is someone watching you as they hide in the tall plants of the field or behind the darkened woods.

But what is stranger than that is when we experience the same kind of feeling in urban places, where the moon and stars are substituted by city lights and there are no woods just towering buildings. Although we can always expect that there are beings looking at us in the street’s shadows, what we don’t is if they are of a different entity and want more than just lighter to start their cigarettes.

That is what Anton Villaruel brings to life in his latest exhibit at Cartellino. Dubbed as “Mga Lamang Poste,” the exhibit features the Filipino artist’s series of collagraph works that plays on the folk belief of lamang-lupa. The idea of it sprung from a casual observation of posts he would often come across as he passed along Teacher’s Village, Q.C.

“The reference images of these dates back to as early as 2012, the height of his walking habit,” the gallery says. “Around such time, Anton mused that perhaps another breed of engkanto lives in plain sight of us, in the metal.”

Each post’s varying traces of corrosion, worn-off paint, graffiti, and the patterns and shapes emergent from these, in turn, inform a corresponding aspect of the work: the color palette, the layers, and reliefs, the iconography, the type of plate.

“Anton’s process hinged on these source elements, in equal parts to install oneself in a familiar environment and retrieve it from memory, as well as the creative flights that accompany this endeavor, further working on an idea, bringing these to light,” it ends.

“Mga Lamang Poste” is available for viewing until May 29, 2021.