The “Tumindig” artwork of Filipino artist Tarantadong Kalbo, or Kevin Eric Raymundo in real life, meant to encourage people to register to vote, criticize the government’s failed pandemic response, and air his frustrations. Instead, it snowballed into a resistance fueled by artists, writers, activists, and ordinary citizens.
The artwork that Raymundo originally posted on Saturday, July 17, shows rows of anthropomorphic fists that are bowed down in obedience, in reference to President Duterte’s signature gesture of a fist bump.
But one of the fists stood its ground, which reflects the artwork’s title of Tumindig.
“Ayon, siguro ang gusto kong maging effect ng artwork is para mahikayat iyong mga tao na mag-register sila at bumoto nang tama ngayon. Kailangan na natin ibahin iyong pamamalakad ng gobyerno natin (That’s what I want to be my artwork’s effect to encourage people to register and vote wisely. We need to change the way our government is being run),” Raymundo said during the Istorya ng Pag-asa segment of Vice President Leni Robredo’s radio show on Sunday, July 25.
The vice president was not present during the radio show because she had to attend the opening of one of her programs in Camarines Sur. It was her spokesman and lawyer Barry Gutierrez, who interviewed Raymundo instead.
Soon after he posted the artwork, people began adding their own fist-shaped avatars in solidarity with Raymundo. The artwork then snowballed into an online movement of resistance.
Raymundo said those who added their own personalities might be feeling the same way that he is—frustrated.
“Siguro kasi ano, katulad ko rin sila na pagod na rin sila, eh, kasi ‘di ba iyong (Maybe because like me, they are also tired in) the way the government is handling the pandemic, palpak eh. Ganun iyon eh. Iyong frustrations ng mga tao ka-pareho ko sila (it’s a failure. That’s it. The frustrations of the people are the same with mine),” he told Gutierrez.
“Parang I am just an ordinary citizen na gano’n iyong nararamdaman kaya siguro ang daming naka-relate doon sa pagtindig (that’s how I am feeling that’s why many are able to relate to standing up),” Raymundo added.
He said that his artwork is a way for him to resist without triggering the ire of the administration’s alleged internet trolls, as well as possibly being red-tagged under the controversial Anti-Terror Law.
Raymundo is now partnering with another artist, Dakila, to collect the entries and combine them in one large image.
But there’s also another group of artists who “modified” Raymundo’s artwork with presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio’s caricature holding a mallet and her other hand wrapped in the Avengers’ “infinity gauntlet.” The image is bloodied since Duterte-Carpio was seen crashing Raymundo’s fists creation.
“Nakakatawa naman iyon eh. Parang ewan. Pero reactionary piece naman kasi iyon. Sa akin wala namang isyu iyon kasi artist din naman siya so hindi ko naman puwedeng pigilan iyong gusto niyang gawin na artwork (That’s funny. That’s nothing. It’s like a reactionary piece. For me, there is no issue because he’s also an artist, so I cannot stop what artwork he wants to do),” Raymundo said.
“Pero sa akin, hindi ako affected doon kasi the fact na gumawa siya ng artwork based doon sa gawa ko, ibig sabihin effective iyong Tumindig na movement. Para silang natakot eh, na ano (But for me, I am not affected by it because the fact that he made an artwork based on what I did, it means the Tumindig movement is effective. It looked like they got scared),” he added.