Yolanda survivors paint mural to depict their struggles 2 years since the storm
DYVL Wall, Noblejas Junction, Downtown, Tacloban – “The government’s absence days after Yolanda had pushed people over the edge, desperate and helpless. A lot of people painted vandals on different walls all over Tacloban ground zero, crying for help from whoever could. Yolanda survivors expressed raw artistry; they showed art in the sincerest way possible. Two years after Yolanda, we don’t want this art to get lost in the passage of time. We want the Yolanda survivors’ struggles to be brought to the fore ,” Camille Anne Bogtong, one of the artists said.People Surge, an alliance of disaster survivors, together with a UP-based artist group painted mural on the DYVL Wall, Noblejas Junction in downtown Tacloban to visualize the Yolanda survivors’ struggles two years since supertyphoon Yolanda struck the region.
“From all over the world, it is well-recognized that wall painting has been a form of protest but many dismiss it as vandalism and eyesores to the ‘beauty’ of capitalist progress. But we beg to differ. It is an insult to reduce our art to mere vandalism. We paint murals to signify our protest not just as a means of self-expression. We paint murals for justice and accountability,” adds Bogtong.
People Surge expressed that they will exhaust all possible avenues to make the disaster survivors’ plight known to the world two years after the storm. “Mural painting is just one way to do that. As the saying rightfully goes, a picture speaks thousands of words,” Marissa Cabaljao, People Surge spokesperson said.
“Two years after Yolanda, many disaster survivors still live in bunkhouses and temporary shelters while delivery of basic social services remains problematic. At least two people died in bunkhouses due to heat stroke. Demolitions after demolitions threaten those in No Dwelling Zones to give way for infrastructural projects that least benefit the poor. Farming areas are militarized. At least 13 disaster survivors were killed by suspected state forces. These are truths which we want to convey in our simple art.”
For its part, the UP-based artist group is resolved that their protest should transcend beyond their art. “We marched along with other disaster survivors, a huge convergence of delegates from different parts of Eastern Visayas last Friday to seek justice and accountability. Artistic protest complemented with a broad mass movement will send the message across,” Bogtong said.
“We held our big protest last November 6, two days before the second anniversary, to give way for this grand day of remembering,” People Surge Secretary-General Marissa Cabaljao said. “The mandate of People Surge is to fight for justice and accountability. We owe this to our fellowmen who did not make it to this point.”