From the skies, Metro Manila looks like a big mass of rooftops, occasionally broken by bits of greenery from pocket parks scattered throughout the metro. This gritty scene further unfolds as one touches down on the ground, where vignettes of everyday life in a big city become a personal experience. The city is crowded, noisy, congested –and yet Filipinos living below the poverty line are able to strive and survive with characteristic humor and that Pinoy trait called Tibay ng Loob.
Tam-Awan Village Baguio artist Art Lozano makes a social commentary on life in the big city via his series titled Behind Urban, recently on exhibit at Artes Orientes in the Serendra complex. For this project, Lozano uses plastic GI sheets as his canvas, and he explains why: “You can tell a family’s social status by the roof of their house. If you are rich, your roof can be made with imported tiles. If you belong to the marginalized sector, your roof is usually made with patched GI sheets. Makikita mo kung gaano kayaman o kahirap ang tao, base sa bubong niya.”
Etched on his canvas are symbols of tradition, progress and development, playing with the push and pull of development. “You can see here images from the streets and the struggles when there are shanty demolitions being held,” he explains. Behind Urban is his take on development and its impacts to culture, tradition and society. “I think that as more and more areas progress and as more technology comes in, we tend to forget about taking care of the environment – and that could come with consequences. Ang mga bundok pinapatag at ang tubig tinatabunan, tapos maaring magkaroon na tayo ng kalamidad.”
His artwork uses mixed media on plastic GI sheets, and this is his first series wherein the pieces are backlit, so they can serve as wall lamps. Lozano is from the Ilocos region and is part of the Tam-awan Group of Artists (TVA) in Baguio City. Lozano hopes to become a reflection of realities close to him, both of the highland community where he has grown as well as the areas he has immersed in. He teaches children all over the country the art and economic benefits of mono print design, in the hope that through the craft, the next generation will be inspired to venture in the arts with a means to sustain their passion.
Last year, Lozano placed 3rd in the Mixed Media category of the GSIS, National Art Competition as well as a Finalist in the Sculpture category of the Metrobank Art & Design Excellence as well as the Philippine Art Awards 2013 -14 Regional winners. For more information about Lozano’s pieces and the Tam-awan Group of Artists activities, visit www.tam-awanvillage.com