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Leaders of the New Cool: Nika Dizon

At a time of political crisis, our generation needs more artists like Nika Dizon. A rebel with a cause, she uses bizarre and uncanny paintings as a medium for advocacy. Inspired by expressionism and surrealism, her poetics and subtexts lie in the depths of details, the easily missable, and the deliberate subtleties.

Meeting her reminded me of directors Lino Brocka and Ishmael Bernal, whose rebellions reside in film’s juxtapositions during the time of Marcos silencing the medium. The people surrendered their undivided attention, because it was engaging and interesting, while ideas of justice unveiled one by one.

The same goes with Nika’s long-term goal: to create an impact so intense that it would spark change in this devastating time. Although this seems too big a dream, it’s not at all impossible with the pace Nika’s taking. Through her art, she dares raise the flag of nonconformity and marches the path against tyranny.

Who are your heroes in real life?

My parents. Every comfort I’ve had in life is mostly because of my parents and the privilege I grew up with because of them.

What’s the best and worst thing about being young?

The best thing is the many opportunities you’re bound to have and all the things you can do and learn. The worst thing is how we live in a system that favors only the people who can afford those privileges.

Who are your local and international influences?

Locally, it would definitely be my dad, Jeff Dizon, who is also an artist. He was the first person who got me into art. Growing up, I would just watch him paint. I would be like “Dad, teach me how to do that, teach me how to paint.” International would be Frida Kahlo. I really like her art and I like her as a person as well.

What are you currently working on?

I’m working on a solo exhibit this year. And then next year, I kind of want to venture into sculpting. Just be more adventurous with my art.

Would you say that you incorporate your own same politics in your art?

Oh yeah, definitely. My art is how I feel, how I was raised, or how I am. But I think like all of me is just like its how society brought you to be.

Having said that, would you say you believe that the personal is political?

Art is totally political. The personal is political. Everything is.

What’s your biggest goal?

Success for me is having an impact on society. That’s when I’ll consider myself successful, but as of now, I’m still starting as an artist. I want people to look at my art and feel something—a spark, or inspiration to change.

Interview by Nina Chua
Photography by Czar Kristoff
Styling by Vince Crisostomo
Hair and makeup by Zidjian Floro and Raffy So


This story was originally published in our 4th Anniversary issue and has been edited for web. The digital copy of Scout’s 32nd issue is accessible here.


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