GERILYA Presents Their First Exhibit

From the kanto to Kanto: Gerilya's first gallery exhibition

In November 2011, an artwork featuring three masked Filipino youths in various fighting stances made its overnight debut on a heavily-graffitied wall of the Philcoa overpass in Quezon City. Their faces hidden by t-shirts of Philippine flags that they wore on their heads, the three looked out at passersby, seemingly ready to fight or defend, should the need arise.

One week later, the artwork has been torn to shreds, presumably by well-meaning metro aids.

This did not hinder the appearance of several more similar artworks, however. Paintings of youths in t-shirt masks inspired by the flags of the 17th century Philippine revolutionary society of the Katipunan appeared on different walls and public spaces of the metro. While most have been scrapped off from view faster than they have been pasted on, photos of their sightings have made a perceptible splash on the internet.

Those who saw the works have taken to calling the series "Pinoy Rangers," as a play on words on the popular 90's children's TV show Power Rangers because of the Japanese super sentai-inspired costumed superhero fighting poses that the masked subjects adopted. This was to be the first series of street art by Gerilya to make the jump from public spaces to a gallery exhibit.

Formed in 2008 at the University of the Philippines, Diliman, Gerilya is an artist collective involved in various art-related ventures such as comics, street art, graffiti animation, fine art exhibitions, and illustration commissions. Their work is inspired by Philippine culture and history, exploring socio-political issues and national identity. They seek to make their art as relevant as possible and draw influence from Philippine popular and mass culture.

In the Pinoy Rangers series, Gerilya drew from their collective experience as children who grew up in the city in the 90's and soaked up popular culture. Merging the iconography of the 17th century flags of the Katipunan and the super sentai fighting stances of the 90's blurs and recreates our idea of what a hero looks like. The t-shirt mask, on the other hand, remains timely and unmistakably Filipino as it is still currently used by farmers and labourers against the elements, and by urban protesters against teargas and to ensure their anonymity.

PINOY RANGERS! Mandirigmang kabataan, tanod ng kasarinlan!
Gerilya's First Exhibition at Kanto Gallery (The Collective 7274 Malugay St. Brgy San Antonio Village, 1203 Makati, Philippines)
Opening Reception/Cocktails: January 28 (Saturday) at 6:00 pm
Exhibit runs from Jan. 26 until Feb. 12