Visual artist Archie Geotina’s latest mural is a monument to everyday heroes
Archie Geotina’s ‘Ang Lakbay ng 105 Milyon’ mural in Salcedo underpass celebrates everyone’s contribution to nation-building
February 18, 2020
Written by Trisha Anne Leones
Photos courtesy of Makati Central Estate Association and Federal Land Inc
The Makati Central Estate Association (MACEA) and Federal Land Inc. gifted the city last February 14 with a public art installation, Ang Lakbay Ng 105 Milyon (The Journey of 105 Million), by visual artist Archie Geotina. The 2,000-square-foot mural was inspired by Geotina’s travels to iconic destinations in the Philippines and the people he met along the way, the figure in the title in reference to the total population of the country and the continuing journey we are undergoing as a nation. The mural incorporates images of local heroes who had a positive impact on their communities, a celebration of the everyman. Through this installation, Geotina aims to honor and celebrate the heroes of the past, inspire the present generation, all in service of forging a stronger nation.
“Installations are important. It gives us a little time to smile,” said Geotina when asked about how art can improve the quality of life in cities. We pick his brains further in a short interview where he elucidates us on the power of art when unleashed into the public realm.
BluPrint: You mentioned in your Instagram post that ‘the pressure builds, but it’s everything you expect when you dare to be different.’ Would you say that this is your design mantra? How is this mural different from your other murals?
Geotina: When I do a mural, I measure everything, and I play with the architecture. That’s why this mural is also more of a play with peripherals and perspective. This mural isn’t supposed to be seen at face value upfront. When you look at it at a vantage point, that’s when you see the whole picture. Regarding my post, the pressure builds up because, obviously, it’s a very public installation. Knowing that fact is a bigger pressure for me than doing the project. I could do this all day, paste, and create things, but it’s when the public sees my art that I have to give up my ego and leave the judging to them.
As a public mural seen by many, how would you say art adds to or improves life in the city? I think it’s an everyday thing. I think everything that we experience is either creatively expressed or from art. The showerhead that you use when you wake up, even the bed, and every decision that we make come from a person’s creativity. So, I feel like that’s why installations are essential, and the reason for this celebration is that we don’t have much time to appreciate things. We simply go through our daily lives. I think that’s why people in the business sectors and the government also decided to celebrate these things because it gives us a little time to smile.
What makes for a good mural? When people are in a hurry, what makes them stop and stare? I think it’s more of the scale of the artwork and the fact that the public doesn’t usually see images like that. So, when certain people actually stop and take time to appreciate it, that’s when I see that the person is interested in other things. Public art teaches you how to study the behaviors of people. Makikita mo kung sino ‘yong titigil o kailangan nang pumasok, pero ‘pag tumigil ‘yong tao at nahuli mo siya, makakausap mo siya. (You will see who stops or hurries to his or her work, but when a person stops and you catch him or her, you will be able to talk to them.) That’s what we’re also trying to push: people should stop and think.
What are your expectations with regards to people’s reactions to your work? How would you like them to react? Any reaction that comes naturally from them. I’ve seen some who were smiling. I’ve seen people laughing. I’ve also seen expressions of curiosity and amazement, but everything else after my work really comes from them entirely. I don’t expect anything aside from what’s natural.
What message or insight would you like to instill to the passersby as they walk and see your mural? Just stop for a while to smell the roses and see our culture. Let us appreciate what we have.