Street art in Cebu: Hurray or horror?

By Karl Aries Emerson F. Cabilao, UAP

CEBUANOS are known for their creativity. This has been manifested in a lot of things from world-class furniture to scrumptious delicacies and dishes. In terms of artistic expression, Cebuanos are not left behind, may it be in painting and sculpture to the more contemporary forms of art like digital art and fashion.

GraffitiSuch creativity can also be used to enhance the urban environment. Most of the cities in Metro Cebu may have more of its share in tourism destinations and watering holes, but there are not too many public spaces that would conveniently showcase vibrant artistic expression.

Street art is way different from vandalism. This could take in the form of visual art that helps bring life to a blank wall and even entire areas like sidewalks, alleys and parks. Street art could also equate to sculpture or artistic installations meant to represent something pressing or depict an emotion. The artists behind these often have relevant messages behind each creative work which contributes to the interesting facet of these works.

Is Cebu ready for “urban art”? Surely, there are a lot of artists and art enthusiasts who are just aching to weave their brushes and paints on a wall but are Cebuanos ready to embrace them and not just dismiss them as eyesore displays of vandalism? Today, these readers reveal their ideas on places here in Cebu where they would like to convert as a canvass and showcase some vibrant art works.

“I think it would best introduce art in a busy district like IT Park in Lahug or Cebu Business Park where lots of people come and stay. Most street art that we often see are quite hidden because these are still considered as “vandalism” by many. Having them near popular places like malls would help make people aware that not all street art are degrading to society and the environment. Like Bonifacio Global City in Manila, a place with street art could become a good tourist attraction.” — Edzel Rubite, graphic designer/co-organizer of DesignUbec

“I would have it in the dilapidated Cebu International Convention Center building. It’s a great place to air our ideas as well as political and emotional sentiments. And I would like a surrealistic approach to the artwork, depicting things that make one think about what is painted. It must be presentable and relevant which people can value the purpose & effort of the artist.” — Katherine Paler-Rivera, painter/college instructor

“Somewhere in Mandaue would be an ideal place for street art. Mandaue is known as an industrial city where everyone is just too busy and many places are too chaotic for one to almost notice anything. We need some love on the streets. A humanized expression like wall graffitis that gently reminds people that inspite of the chaos of the world, beauty and creative talent among humans still exist.” — James Ryan Blanes, supervisor

“Graffiti and wall art. I find graffiti on roadsides interesting – all the more if they tell stories of present realities (stories of life or political, social, or economic undertones). I’d love to see young and up-and-coming artists repaint the walls along major roads and business districts in Cebu. Repaint those drab, dark, pollution-crusted walls into walls that tell stories. In Manila, along the walls along EDSA are beautifully repainted. Let’s do that here too.” — Elisabeth Baumgart, columnist


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