Art and the minds of the youth – nothing can being about visual revolution more than these two. Even more so when youth chooses to insert their two cents of artistic wisdom. This is the story of how Gerilya brought their street art project from the taboo premises of the metro all the way to the mainstream halls of art collective galleries. Note: It's sort of a semi-success story.
"Ang Gerilya, pangalan lang talaga ng barkada ng mga magkakaibigang artists. Hindi siya profit-oriented at walang particular advocacy in mind. Hindi din kami foundation or organization. Lahat ng ginagawa namin produkto lang ng mga get-together namin,” reveals Jano, who, together with fellow art majors Teri, Kube, and Zap, initially got together for an independent comic book project.
The group’s original foray into the street art scene first took place in the sky-wide premises of UP Diliman, doing sticker artworks they left on public bleachers and lamp posts. “Kaya kami lumipat sa street art kasi isa sa mga purpose namin is mai-share yung art namin sa publiko, sa mas malawak na audience,” recalls Zap. “At dahil nasa kalsada siya, may thrill and excitement yung process. Bonus na lang ‘yun kung maganda yung gawa namin.”
Word of their work eventually went around, with the streets of Katipunan becoming Gerilya’s first municipal canvass. Their subject would accordingly be 17th century hero Andres Bonifacio, with the purpose of reminding by passers that the now-heavily commercialized road is still and will forever be a tribute to Andres and the KKK.
Their next series would feature an artwork that included three Filipino youths masked by Philippine flags in various fighting and defensive stances on a heavily-graphitized wall of the PHILCOA overpass in Quezon City back in November. Authorities would tear it to shreds precisely a week later, but it was a striking effort to create a socio-political statement, to say the least. “Merong nagtanggal dahil merong nakapansin, so yun yung nag-trigger sa amin na ituloy at gumawa pa ng mas marami,” says Zap.
And this is how Pinoy Rangers came to be.
Pinoy Rangers is based on the gang’s collective experiences as 90s children, all of whom embraced the super sentai culture brought by Dragonball Z and the Mighty Morphing Power Rangers. Combining the iconography of the 17th century flags of the Katipunan and the fighting stances of super sentai symbols, the series re-imagines our generation's idea of what a hero should look like - patriotic, anonymous, yet highly influenced.
For one, the piece The Fusion Dance ng Magdalo at Magdiwang Rangers depicts the rivalry of Aguinaldo and Bonifacio's factions in a different light, contemplating how much of a force they might have been if united as one, ala-Goku and Vegeta. Raygun Blast ng Pangulo on the other hand proudly displays the symbols of an impending victory, much like when Yusuke positions himself for his finishing move, the Raygun.
”Binase namin yung designs sa 16 na opisyal na bandila ng Pilipinas na ginamit simula pa nung unang rebolusyon hanggang sa current na bandila natin ngayon,” says Zap. “Pinaka-unang lumabas nga sa PHILCOA overpass, sumunod sa Katipunan, Kalayaan, kahit sa Laguna. May dambahan na doon ng gerilya, yung literal na gerilya noong panahon ng Hapon. Nilagay mismo namin doon sa shrine.”
There are sixteen Rangers in total, 12 of which have already seen the light of day by then – Oryang, Kawit, Bungo ni Llanera, Matagumpay, Magdiwang, Magdalo, Pilipinas, Katipon, Kawal, Patatsulok, Kalayaan, and Pangulo. With only four rangers left sitting on the bleachers, it’s easy to assume that it’s just a matter of time before Pinoy Rangers reaches its completion.
Next: The controversial artist that would help turn this thing around
PHOTOS BY JAYSON SERVITO
ADDITIONAL PHOTOS BY JENN CHUA
SPECIAL THANKS TO GERILYA AND KANTO GALLERY