Sep 15, 2016

Umbra: The Triumph of Light and Shadow

 “Pulvis et umbra sumus.”

Many times we find ourselves confronted by the principle of duality. Good and evil. Life and death. Yin and Yang.  Concepts often come in binary divisions; take away one and the other ceases to exist.
Photographers Banawe Corvera and Jan Sunday understand this principle well, taking to their lenses to document women through the consummation of light and shadow.  Last August 12, the two prolific artists displayed their works in 856 Gallery for their first duo exhibit, “Umbra,” a collection of 27 monochromatic photos celebrating womanhood in its various shades and forms.

Standing for shadow and darkness, the word “Umbra” makes a good representation of how the two photographers romance with the varying gradations of luminosity that carve out the female spirit. 
In a post-exhibit interview, the feminist artist Sunday said that she believed that beauty wasn’t  just found in the pleasantry of face and form – beauty was in a woman’s entirety; both in light and shade.  
Though they both delve in black and white photography, the two artists have distinct styles: Corvera takes low-key monochromatic images, playing with abstractions, femininity and grace in landscapes whereas Sunday’s work resonates womanhood in its darker, abstract and more sensual moments.

They both find themselves influenced by different photographers as well. While Corvera follows the works of landscape photographers Ansel Adams and Sally Maan, Sunday finds herself inspired by the highly erotic compositions of Ruth Bernhard and Nobuyoshi Araki. 

Coming together for “Umbra” however, the two represent a duality of their own as their compositions form a complimentary tone.  Corvera finds a kindred spirit in Sunday’s work; not only do they have the same fascination for low-key lighting, but they both have the same appreciation for the female form as well. 

Several years ago when Sunday had first seen Banawe’s work she had found herself taken back to her artistic roots in photography.  They hadn’t known each other then, but Corvera’s works spoke to her so clearly.

Since then the two have joined in a few of the same group pop exhibits like last year’s all-female presentation, “Hera” and older exhibit “Box of Little Secrets.” Given their past experience, their synergy and solidarity, it made perfect sense for the two to partner and collaborate on “Umbra.”  

A successful show, “Umbra” was pleasantly filled on its opening night.Visitors from the art community and potential buyers traipsed around the room, flittering from wall to wall to take appreciative looks and selfies in the gallery.

Of course, Corvera and Sunday’s exhibition was not without challenge.  Sunday found her spine hurting while she was taking photos and was occasionally visited by anxiety. The howtoadult vs. howtobeyou   issue can be a staunching hurdle to deal with, especially in art. Corvera also had to deal with her own problems during the process of preparation, finding difficulty in shortlisting photos to create a solid collection and finding unity in her art.

Not only that, but another marked obstacle is the difficulty female artists undergo in showing solo or duo exhibits in the locality. While male artists enjoy moving along the art scene with multiple solo exhibits quite easily, female artists often have to do with group exhibits instead. However, despite the artistic barriers they had to face, the two managed to pull off a pop up exhibit that marked as another triumph for female artists in the country.

Imagine two females presenting risqué images while using an unorthodox medium (photography) that often doesn’t sell in shows.  The success of “Umbra” is definitely cause for celebration.

Now with the exhibit leaving the creative scene with waves, what kind of advice would the “Umbra” photographers have for others?  Corvera and Sunday leave budding artists and photographers with these words:

“Keep shooting. Find a visual style that you feel strongly for. Never be afraid to explore.  Go ahead, make a dent.”  

First Published in Sun Star Cebu Weekend, Sept. 4, 2016. 

Article: Tiny Diapana

Photos: Ernest Dino 

Aug 14, 2016

Pokemon Go: Extinction and New Specie

On a rainy afternoon, an old guy sipping stallion in 7/11 began talking about his childhood.Maybe he was tipsy. He was telling me how envious he was of his friends and neighbors going out everyday and night hunting for wild animals as pets and food. He could only do this during weekends.

Many of his stories were random and I couldn’t comprehend most of it. Although hunting might seem illegal, they devised many techniques. For example they used "Tubli" he said, a toxin from a plant, which they used to poison fishes during low tide. He was laughing while he recalled that baby hito, or catfish, that looked like tadpoles were immune to the poison. He jumped to another topic, telling me how excited he was during the near harvest season not because of the corn, but because it is also the season for spiders. He was also telling me he collected broken vinyl records of The Beatles to make birds dizzy and easier to catch. Then he narrated that his barrio had pogo, bayawak, and many other rare creatures.

After 4 bottles he decided to leave when four teens arrived to buy gulp. They were all sweaty, one guy bragging to his friends that he caught a Bulbasaur, a Charmander and a Jigglypuff! I asked myself, "Humans must be wired to hunt?"

For the most part humans live in hunting and gathering societies and there might be still a large part of our subconscious for hunting? The Stallion man and the Gulp Kids might be my first evidence of that hypothesis. Even though the former is bloody while the latter is glitchy, they share the same passion and enthusiasm.

Last week I was tempted to buy a fishing rod in an online shop but whenever I pass Subangdaku river my angel would tell me not to, but download Pokemon Go and catch Magikarp instead.

words by: xoxo92
artworks by: koloWn

Aug 9, 2016

Nutrition Facts: Streetkonect's 1st net show

Nutrition Facts is a photographic series of Banaybanay mining sites by Leah Valle will be exhibited at 856 G Gallery on August 12, 2016. There is also a parallel web exhibition on This exhibition is a StreetKonect and Tropical Futures Institute project in collaboration with Rm. 74.

Aug 1, 2016

Space: Josua Cabrera

"Selfie Pa More" by Josua Cabrera

Today we’re featuring a few hand-drawn office illustrations by multi-awarded artist and editorial cartoonist, Josua Cabrera.  

Ranging from playful slices of life to sharp-witted jabs at the social and political climate of the locality, Cabrera’s work serves as a humorous and thought-provoking staple in Sun Star Cebu’s dailies.  Cebuano newspaper readers may be familiar with “Latagaw,” Cabrera’s quirky and pertinent cartoons that illustrate the everyday struggles that Cebuanos have to face in the midst of a mutable social, political and physical environment.

Streetkonect will be featuring an interview with Cabrera on the blog soon. In the meantime, while waiting for a transcript of our conversation with Sun Star Cebu’s lead editorial cartoonist and illustrator, here are a few illustrations Cabrera made showing off his office at Sun Star Cebu.


Jul 19, 2016

Bored Design: Palayan and Escape from Enigma

There’s been a whole lot of exiting done these days. Chexit, brexit, the shape and taste of everyone’s favorite instant pancit (canton) – even boardgames have been trying to exit the stereotype that it’s tagged to.  Times are changing, people. Tabletop gaming isn’t just for kids and nerds anymore. 

"And Then We Held Hands" at Ludo Cafe in Manila. 
In the past two years Cebu has seen the tabletop gaming community gather in number. Counting at around 60 members back in 2014, the group now stands with more than 270 members from all sorts of backgrounds and professions with more or less 50 of which who gather regularly once or twice a week to play.  

Cebu Board Gamers playing at Bubble Tea Cafe at Escario Central in Cebu. 
Gamers playing "Codename" at Ludo Cafe in Manila.

But it doesn't end there. People have become so keen on tabletop gaming that gaming cafes like Ludo have begun sprouting in Manila, while a few individuals have begun considering opening their own boardgaming spots in Cebu.  Filipino boardgame enthusiasts have even begun designing their very own boardgames as well! 

Today we’re featuring two Filipino-made boardgames – one designed by UP Cebu graduate Sabina Marie Espina and one designed by the people responsible for creating Mystery Manila.

First up is the thoroughly-researched rice planting euro game, “Palayan” by UP alumna Sabina Espina.  

Just like euro games like "Agricola," "Settlers of Catan," and "Ticket To Ride," gamers playing “Palayan” have to amass resources using little people tokens called agents. In boardgaming communities, these agents are often dubbed as meeples.

Borrowing elements from the culture of the Ifugao,  meeples in the game gather and trade chicken, camote and favors from the mumbaki (or Babaylan) which they then use to plant rice. Once rice has been planted, players can then harvest the stalks and trade them for points on the board. 

However, harvesting rice isn’t that easy in “Palayan.” In every round gamers have to face off a few calamities like drought, flood and real estate, much like the Ifugao do today. The first player to reach 40 points, wins.

Crafted for her thesis in Product Design in UP Cebu, Espina designed a colorful and dynamic boardgame that not only boasts great craftsmanship but a whole lot of research into Ifugao planting culture as well.


The next boardgame in this feature is “Escape from Engima,” a cardgame designed by Errol Magdato and Ysa Bondoc from Mystery Manila.

Tagged as the first live escape room game in the Philippines, Mystery Manila helps players bring out the sleuth hidden inside themselves in every well-crafted mystery room. 

With “Escape from Engima” however, Magdato and Bondoc bring the mystery out of the room and into the box. 

Borrowing elements from the popular detective game “Cluedo,” Mysery Manila's card game requires investigative savvy. There's a whole lot of bluffing involved as well.


The point of the game is to be the first person to escape, or the last person left alive. Good for two to seven players, “Escape from Enigma” uses character cards and tool tokens that host a cute, minimalist design.

"Escape from Enigma" and "Palayan" are just two samples of the boardgames being designed in the the country. Our fellowmen have so much to offer in the creative sphere. Though countries like Germany dominate the field of boardgame design and production, aspiring boardgame designers and enthusiasts from the Philippines are definitely trying their best to break into the scene.

Photos by:  Sabina Espina (Palayan), Verne Ahyong (Escape from Enigma), Ludo Café (Ludo), Xhyna Rin (Cebu Boargaming Community)

Jul 9, 2016


Barrio Peligro by Happy Garaje. I want to be a dwarf chieftain.

Risk is experimenting on Neon Lights. Safe to call Neon Writing?

Egg Fiasco visits Cebu and made a collab with Bart, Soika, Kdlt and Yummy

 Bomba Press released an amazing series of poster  for the DROUPOUT's tour. The official poster was designed by Siamese Rat.

Ernest Diño made a new glitch video art,Screen Fix 1

Jul 4, 2016

Pilipinas Street Plan 10th Anniversary Show

Pilipans Street Plan (PSP) is a community that has grown committed in showcasing and celebrating ephemeral art on streets. Founded in 2006, It has been a platform that opened doors for creative individuals from various disciplines. The collective since then shares to the public a range of in-depth knowledge about street art crossing beyond their practices, through exhibitions, lectures, discussions, and publications. 

Along with the constant societal shift which is a major influence in the way urban art is expressed, PSP challenges the perception not only of the viewing public but also the galleries. PSP serves as a link between the contemporary art institutions and post-modern graffiti movement without disrupting the rudimentary principles of street art.

X” is a dynamic symbol expressing various definitions in diverse cultures throughout history. As a Roman numeral, X equates to number 10. In mathematics, it is referred as an unknown value or a distinguished independent variable. X, in artistic applications, is also used as an indication of collaboration between two individuals or a group. It can also be a specification of a location, hence the expression “X marks the spot”.

As part of the 10th year anniversary of PSP, “X” is taken as a symbol, connecting and collaborating with various craftsperson and skilled workers in creating pieces that will provide a deeper understanding of our culture, be it slowly fading or forgotten because of their modern alternatives. The exhibit intends to support and acknowledge local craftsmanship, in cooperation with contemporary street artists, muralists, and galleries in honouring their craft.

Romanticizing the short-lived, colliding the old with the new, reinvigorating the tired ethos with a fresh approach with a sense of impermanence, Pilipinas Street Plan attempts to reinforce the backbone of the local, endemic craft celebrating a decade of decadence in an attempt to “mark the spot” with an indelible “X”.

-X Exhibition Notes

High Five: Martina Paukova

Martina Paukova is a London based illustrator who has recently had a residency program with Tropical Futures Institute in Cebu City. She's done illustration work for Time Magazine, Google, Converse, Pull&Bear just to name a few. We got a chance to have a short interview with her. 

1. How did you end up being an illustrator? 
It happened almost by accident - after my studies in politics I moved to London to try something else and just explore. Here I met a guy that studied photography at a local college and who suggested I sign up for something too. And I did! I chose graphic design (as I knew a little bit of Photoshop and thought that what graphic designers need) which eventually led to illustration.

2. What do you think you'd be doing right now if you weren't an illustrator? 
Gosh, god knows! For last couple of years I've been so immersed in all things visual that it is super hard to imagine what else I'd do. I envy all the people working with new technologies in a creative and socially enriching way, probably I'd do that. Or something with food! Am a big fan.

Martina's series for her Tropical Futures Institute residency program. 

3. We understand you recently visited the Philippines, what was the most odd thing you encountered during your stay? 
Hmm, I should probably mention the high levels of very visible poverty and daily hard work that I have seen on daily basis in the city of Cebu - all this mixed with totally another class of people - with very good education and very comfortable lifestyle. Stark contrast. Another odd thing was pasta dish in Jollybee food outlet. Weird.

4. What's your favorite food to have for breakfast? 
Haha, breakfast is my favourite! I do love sourdough bread with avocado or eggs or blueberry jam accompanied with cup black coffee. Simple as that.

Martina's series for her Tropical Futures Institute residency program. 

5. What's your advice to aspiring illustrators?
Keep creating and producing and keep sending your stuff out. Keep on top of the game by following creative blogs, see what is liked, what is trendy, try new things yourself! Also make sure that whatever you create is put on social media Asap, let people know what are you up to! You never know what art director or magazine editor will see it and offer you a gig!

Her recent work for Cannes Lions Festival last June 2016.