Our English Professor Pilot writer has a new camera. Clearly, he has been enjoying it. This is the guy who looked at airplane books all day at the age of 1, and who learned to say “SR-71 Blackbird” before he could say “bookswagen”.
Somewhere in this city, there is a brilliant artist whose name nobody knows.
He may be rich or poor. He may be one person or a whole group. He may be a she. All that we know is that his artwork adorns jeepneys across Manila.
One hardly expects to find artistry among the noisy, notoriously polluting, and haphazardly driven avatars of Manila’s road scene. But it is there if you care to look. We’re used to thinking of jeepney art as slapdash and ramshackle, but the decorations on the sides of our jeepneys have changed. Some time in the past ten years, somebody decided to put some professionalism into it – the art is surprisingly well done in many cases.
There are the usual religious figures and scantily clad women, often hilariously side by side, but increasingly, there are replicas of art from movies, scenes from nature, and even images from video games. Imagine my surprise when I realized that the provocatively dressed vixen on the jeepney beside me was a World of Warcraft night elf.
Because it is a visual medium intended for the masses, and people tend to think visually, jeepney art is a reflection of what urban Filipinos are thinking about. So it’s a heartwarming experience for me to see, between the mynxes and madonnas, the occasional airplane.
Posted from Manila, Friday the 13th, January, 2012.