ROXAS CITY, Capiz, Philippines — It all started with a friend’s request for a sculpture.
But with a massive, plain wall that used to house a power plant in an empty lot, artist Danger Sanchez was able to transform it into a colorful masterpiece.
But Sanchez did not do it alone, as he had a 21-man team to help him achieve the idea. Fourteen from his team were Roxas City local artists.
The result of their teamwork was a mural that stretches 15 feet tall and 361 feet wide that celebrates the essence of street art, drawn from the town’s history, culture and economy.
The mural showed two hands somehow stretching a lot of ideas—a hardworking fisherman, three carabaos made of a hundred of strokes, a beautiful young woman with some butterflies behind her, among others.
And with this masterpiece, it opened the door for the local government to showcase not only local artistry, but bring the community together through good music and delicious food.
This all happened at the Primero at the Planta in Roxas City in Capiz province last Sept. 20-22. The Primero at the Planta is a food and art festival.
Sanchez said that it all started last year when his friend, the lot’s owner, phoned him to make him a sculpture.
“Dami kong binigay [na ideas] sa kanya, tapos biglang nawala, parang walang contact, parang okay lang, nakalimutan niya,” Sanchez said in an interview Saturday.
(I gave him some ideas for the sculpture, but he never responded, it was as if he had forgotten about it.)
Months later, his friend phoned him again asking him for the proposal. This gave Sanchez, who admitted he was a painter rather than a sculptor, an idea.
“Pwede bang mural na lang? May wall ka ba dyan? (Is it okay if I do a mural instead? Do you have a wall?), Sanchez recalled saying, to which his friend said he has an empty space.
The artist then visited the site back in April to see the wall for himself, and immediately thought that he cannot paint the mural alone.
Sanchez, who is a partner of art gallery Vinyl and Vinyl (VOV) in Chino Roces Ave, Makati City, tapped his group composing of seven members to help him create the mural.
The lot owner also wanted the concept of “giving back,” which, according to Sanchez, was his friend’s way of contributing to the townspeople, just like the owner’s father did before him by serving as a “doctor to the barrio.”
For his part, Sanchez said that he saw the concept as easy, as he drew from his experience from his previous job with the Department of Health.
“Even yung mga kasama ko [na artists], tinanong ko sa kanila kung okay ba ito? They said ‘okay.’ I said kanya-kanya tayong tasks na gagawin natin,” Sanchez said.
(I asked my fellow artists if the concept was fine with them. They said “okay,” then I told them we have individual tasks to do.)
Another catch was that the lot owner wanted the mural to be from local artists too, which Sanchez gladly agreed to.
Showcasing local talent
As Sanchez needed all the help he could get, he went to the local tourism office of Roxas City and asked for the names of local artists that may help him with the project.
From there, Sanchez was given the name of Lloyd Develos. Develos was later tasked by Sanchez to handpick his team of local artists to help him paint the mural.
“Yung kinuha kong mga artists, sila yung artists dito sa Capiz na hindi masyadong recognized. Binigyan sila ng pagkakataon para makagawa ng ganitong project para makilala din,” Develos said.
(The artists I picked, they are those from Capiz who are not well-recognized. I gave them this opportunity through this project to be recognized too.)
Why did the local tourism department agency suggested his name? “Kasi pagdating po dito sa Capiz, ako lagi yung kino-contact pagka may mga murals, may mga art demo, pag may streamers, mga t-shirt printing nila.”
(Here in Capiz, they always contact me for murals, if there are art demos, I also make streamers and help with t-shirt printing.)
Aside from being an artist, Develos said that he also loves to dance. He was a dancer three years ago, but decided to let go this talent to focus on art.
Impressively, Develos achieved such a feat even if he is a person with disability as he contracted polio when he was two years old.
To make things possible, Sanchez said his 21-man team finished the mural in just 25 days, from Aug. 1-25.
“They worked from 6 a.m. until mga 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., kasi pagdating ng 11, mainit na. Tapos magta-trabaho ulit sila ng mga 4, 5 hanggang 6 p.m,” Sanchez said on how long did the artists paint the mural.
(They worked from 6 a.m. until about 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. It is already hot at 11 a.m. They would then resume work from 4 p.m. or 5 p.m. until 6 p.m.)
And with the finish product becoming a success, Develos said he is very happy with the outcome.
“Nakakatuwa kasi naipapakita sa mga tao, kasi yung mga ibang tao dito, estranghero na pagdating sa art. Ito na yung planta, pagpasok nila, ma-aapreciate na nila yung art,” Develos said. (it is heartening to be able to expose people here to art.)
“So laking pasasalamat namin na natutuwa kami na may lugar na ang art dito sa Capiz,” he added.
(So I have big thanks because we are very happy that art has a place here in Capiz.)
And he had this message to aspiring artists who plan to abandon to pursue art: “Ito na, may halimbawa na. Bakit pa kayo titigil? Tignan niyo yung lugar natin.”
(Here it is, we have an example. Why would we stop? Look at our place.)
“Aangat na yung lugar natin, hindi na natin pwede iwanan yung art kasi unti-unti na tayong nakikilala.” /muf
(Our place will prosper, we should not break away with art because we are being recognized.)