Auggie Fontanilla paints the “Original Trapo” in ‘Pansamantagal’

Auggie Fontanilla paints the “Original Trapo” in ‘Pansamantagal’

The trapo is a familiar political evil figure that has been present in the government for so long. And despite proof of their corrupt nature, many of us are beguiled to give them power. They come out with catchy jingles, “election merch,” and their pleasing personality, but once they gain power, nothing changes for the ordinary Filipino. The trapo is one of Auggie Fontanilla’s subjects in Pansamantagal.

Pansamantagal, a word play between pansamantala  and matagal, is the third in a series of exhibits for Pablo Gallery – The Fort’s 10th anniversary. The series began with Tin Garcia’s A Sovereign Tea Party, which tackled issues of sovereignty through Chinaware and installation. Pauline Despi followed through with an aural and visual exhibit called A Steady Wavering Tone. And now, it’s Auggie’s turn to contribute to the evolving exhibit.

In this exhibit, Auggie renders the denizens of Manila into strange yet familiar creatures. There’s the “Original Trapo” who appears in what seems like a poster for a theater show. On the canvas, the phrases “Doble Karma” and “isang libong pangako” appear. It seems like a representation of and commentary to what has happened to Philippine politics—a mere entertainment show.

We talk to Auggie about the exhibit, art, politics, and the upcoming elections.

Can you elaborate on the origins of the subjects and the exhibit itself?

’Yung exhibit title ko na Pansamantagal, galing siya sa word play ng pansamantala at matagal. Ginagamit siya madalas, for example, kapag may ginawa ka na repair sa isang bagay pero pang-Band-Aid lang siya. Katulad sa buhay natin, paulit-ulit na nangyayari sa Pilipinas tuwing eleksyon. Isang example na alam na natin lahat, mamimigay ng pera si mayor, tatanggapin ng tao dahil sa hirap ng buhay, pero sino nakikinabang sa huli? Ang mga buwaya sa pwesto.

“At isa pa, kapag nasa Maynila ka para kang isang hayop sa gitna ng gubat na kailangang mabuhay.”

Your art always has this connection with Manila and they always feature animals and otherworldly creatures. Is there any particular reason why you gravitate towards these subjects?

Maynila kasi masaya sa Maynila. Pero madumi, maingay, ang dami ring nangyayari. Doon ako kumukuha ng enerhiya para sa inspirasyon ko. May kaguluhan pero mayroon ding pakiramdam ng kagandahan, kaya medyo napapakalma ako kapag naglalakad-lakad ako sa eskinita ng Quiapo, Recto, sa Manila Bay, sa kalsada ng Taft, o kapag nakakasalamuha ang mga tindero sa Divisoria.

Kaya naman puro hayop kasi pwede siyang maging simbulo ng isang storya na gusto kong ipahayag. Doon din ako naglalaro sa mga elemento ng Americana tattoo na may halong relihiyosong elemento at kulturang kalsada. At isa pa, kapag nasa Maynila ka para kang isang hayop sa gitna ng gubat na kailangang mabuhay.

Your art has a political message. Do you consider your art a form of protest?

Kung ako ang tatanungin tungkol sa art as a form of protest, sang-ayon ako. Kasi kahit anong gawin mo na art may purpose at dahilan kung bakit mo siya ginagawa e. Reaksyon kasi siya sa mga nangyayari sayo, o sa paligid mo. Hindi naman kailangan politikal, pwedeng pang-sariling protesta yan o para sa pamilya mo. Para sa akin, nagmumula ang protesta sa isang pagsubok na gusto mapagwagian o sa mga tanong na nais mong bigyang linaw.

This question has been asked to many artists. Do you think art should always be political?

Hindi naman kailangan maging politikal palagi. Basta alam mo lang kung ano ang pinaglalaban mo at kung ano ang ground mo. ’Yun para sa akin ang mahalaga.

This is not exactly related to your art anymore. But since your art is somewhat timely for the upcoming elections, are you still hopeful that Filipino voters will make the right choice this election season?

Sana, sana isang mensahe ’to na makatulong dahil may pag-asa pa naman. Matuto lang sana ang mga tao at magising sa katotohanan sa mga nangyayari. Isang simbolo lang naman itong piyesa ko, pero kung tutuusin, alam naman na natin kung ano ang tama at mali, kung ano ang masama at makakabuti.

You can catch Pansamantagal at Pablo Gallery – The Fort, C-11 South of Market, Bonifacio Global City. 

Photos courtesy of Auggie Fontanilla

Comments

Written by

    Input your search keywords and press Enter.