As the world has been forced to go into quarantine to battle the spread of COVID-19 over the past two years, scholars look to history to see how populations have managed pandemics and isolation. Art has been used by societies to deal with adversity and uncertainty. Art is an original form of expression where artists show how they feel and more importantly, what they feel.
We live in a time where we are unable to see friends and family as much as we are used to, so some might be struggling to find the right ways to stay connected. We have a difficult time expressing what we’re going through and might harness feelings of indifference, anger, or depression. Art can convey how we feel on the inside and reveal things that we might not be comfortable sharing with the world. Isolation reflects Baguio’s current perception of the world, and how seclusion can affect our mental health and relationships with others.
Baguio’s work is influenced by pop culture, tribal art, graffiti, and consumerism which mirror the changes in the Philippines’ urban culture. As he sits in isolation in a small studio in Manila, he continues his work by experimenting with intense emotions, and the deconstruction of images through the use of collage, bold colors, and manic patterns. Layers of acrylic and ink fill handmade paper with hypnotic dots and lines of vibrant hues. Baguio illogically gathers texts, icons, and images lifted from products of popular culture and mass-market advertising to challenge and change the way people see others, the world, and ourselves.
We live in a new age of segregation and the pandemic has not only amplified our impermanence in this world but has above all taught us to live in the moment and shine on. – Shirin Bhandari