'Like a painting': Artist Toym Leon Imao on Manila Bulletin's 'Gold' front page

Published July 28, 2021, 3:04 PM

by John Legaspi

The Manila Bulletin’s July 27, 2021 issue on Hidilyn Diaz’s historic Olympic win gets the artist’s attention

 

As one of the leading newspapers in the Philippines, the Manila Bulletin has been true to its mission of informing, inspiring, and empowering the nation through its stories. It continues to do its purpose by presenting pressing matters, current events, and stories worth-documenting on its pages, particularly on its front page. In a time when digital media dominates over print, creating a compelling front page has never been more essential for the broadsheet, and has always been one of its top priorities.

Its July 27, 2021 issue is definitely among its special releases as not one but two historic moments banner its face—President Rodrigo Duterte’s last State of the Nation Address and Hidilyn Diaz winning the first Olympic gold medal of the Philippines—one that layout artists and editors put their heart and soul in making good.

 

Photo from Toym Leon Imao’s Facebook page

Through a social media post, Filipino artist Toym Leon Imao expressed his take on the Manila Bulletin’s front page saying, “I nominate this page as art.”

“Today’s [the] Manila Bulletin front page is what I consider a fine example (whether unintentional or not) of a masterclass in composition for visual metaphors akin to the hierarchy of billing locations of actors and actresses on movie posters. How we know for a fact that the headlines were changed in the evening press time to highlight the biggest story of the day,” he posted on Facebook.

“This page for me is like a painting, a classic bordering on social realism. I have taken the liberty of adding some red [arches] and labels to the page which states: ‘Bigatin lifting her weight in gold para sa bayan,‘ [and] ‘Mga pabigat sa bayan pushing their weight-in gold.'”

Earlier this year, Toym created a buzz with his art installation “Barikada” at the University of the Philippines – Diliman, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1971 Diliman Commune.

 

 
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