TEXT AND PHOTOS EUDEN VALDEZ
Whether we mark it or not, everyone of us know that February is the Love Month. However, not all of us are aware that it is also our National Arts Month (NAM), which we should all surely celebrate because of our artists’ vast creativity and talents.
Pre-pandemic, art shows and events are mounted by both private and public institutions, including the leading agency for arts and culture in country. This year, the National Commission on Culture and the Arts themed NAM, “Alab Sining, Alay Sigla.” But as we all know, celebrations have also been limited to mostly online events. Museums and galleries are also behind in terms of establishments able to reopen.
In this regard, we should realize the importance of art in public spaces, in the streets, in the open for everyone to experience and appreciate all for free.
Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City is highly commendable for infusing art into its early development phase, filling the streets with installations and sculptures. The CDB’s developers and its art foundation carried this through in 2014 with the Arts BGC Mural Festival, which filled walls with larger than life paintings by both local and international artists. In the coming years, more murals popped up, naturally blending in the urban landscapes as breathing backdrops—even as their colors have faded through weather and time.
Working in BGC for over three years, I have marveled at these street art, but for the most part, I just pass by them in my daily grind. I have been wanting to do a proper mural tour but never able to, except now. Of all time.
It was finally possible on two wheels! (Not that I couldn’t do it on foot.) So I decided to not just do it myself but also show the murals to my biker friends.
Here’s a virtual tour of some of BGC’s prized artworks:
“Between the Lines” (2015)
Spaceman, as I fondly call this mural, which is my favorite of all for its imposing presence, intriguing concept and distinct linework/details. But it’s properly titled “Between the Lines” by CYRCLE, the LA-based two-man collective who made this mural.
I’m lucky because our office space allow an unobstructed view of Spaceman along 26th St. so I can see it anytime I want (before WFH setups, of course).
Of the many street art I frequently see, I was surprised to notice this discreet painting somewhere along 32nd St., which is actually part of my running route. I was taken aback because of its strong appeal, mystery and message. Another LA-based artist, Drew Merrit.
No explanation needed. This mural is a salute to our Filipino farmers. Made wonderfully by Archie Oclos and Aleili Ariola at the exterior wall of Burgos Eats in Rizal Drive.
“The Heart of Gods Country” (2016)
Climate crisis? 1.5 degree Celsius warmer? Well, wherever our planet is headed, if we don’t change and act to protect and preserve it, this giant mural along 32nd St. wishes to depict.
“With my work, I hope to engage the audience with dialogue to themselves and share conversations with each other on the issues that concern us all. ‘The Gods Country’ is not only about our relationship with the environment but of the global problem of environmental degradation. Global warming, pollution, unsustainable lifestyles, fossil fuels are one of the many problems we face and if left unchanged it will have devastating effect to everyone on the planet,” said its artist Andrew Schoultz.
“Dating Tagpuan” (2017)
Regional art shines in this mural, created by Antipolo-based artist John Paul Antido. It’s painted on adjacent walls to realize its theme of meeting places and meeting anew.
Just below it is an older mural, “See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil” painted by Archie Geotina in 2014. Both works are found along 30th St.
“We Are What We Pretend To Be” (2015)
Juxtaposing humans and beasts, nature and cities, this series of street art by Nate Frizzell has definitely seen better days. But that’s just how street art sometimes turn out, especially murals: part of a city’s changes and decays. Most establishments in Bonifacio High Street have encroached the open spaces due to pandemic hiding some of the works. The smallest one is a crow standing on a Coke can. Can you spot it?
“Calamansi & Sampaguita” (2016)
Created by artist called Pastel in 2016, this mural is splashed with yes, pastel colors set on a black background making it pop. The native fauna aims to symbolize local traditions kept throughout centuries.
It’s also amazing how the empty space in front of it has not been claimed for development yet. Find this at the corner of 30th St. and 11th Ave.
Unknown Title (2018)
Perhaps, it’s titled Happiness. This mural on slit metals can really make you happy just by seeing it. Painted by Jack Bryan and Edsel Ronnie.
Found in front of Burgos Eats and The Mind Museum, this hasn’t been included in ArtBGC’s official list of murals yet.
“Magic Owl” & “David’s Hand” (2016)
This duo is by another Los Angeles muralist Bunnie Reiss who was inspired by symbols we see in magic and children’s books. Find these two in different (but close to each other) locations in Bonifacio High Street. Landmarks: R.O.X. and Mango Tree.
Not much is described about this mural by Filipino artist Anjo Bolarda so it’s pretty much up for your interpretation. Found in B3 parking at Bonifacio High Street.
A Stranger Things Mural (2017)
I didn’t realize this mural has been on the back wall of Fully Booked since 2017! Also by unknown artists.
“May You Find Comfort Here” (2016)
Don’t we all just need some sort of comfort in these trying times? These words immortalized through art by collective KFK resonates today. Found a B1 parking space.
Earlier sculptures and installations
“The Trees” by Reynato Paz Contreras located at the very center of Burgos Circle, for example, is in fact the first ever sculpture completed and unveiled in BGC! “Pasasalamat,” on the otherhand, has been installed at 26th Street corner Rizal Drive in 2006. It features the hull of a real balanghai with a sculpture of fishing scene by Ferdinand R. Cacnio.
These are just some of the artworks and sculptures littering BGC in a very good way! Go ahead and embark on your own art tour, soon.