(The Largest Mouth)
acrylic on canvas
48 inches x 36 inches
It’s not solely the anonymity that makes me feel bewildered – there’s something more straying than that. It’s this – being trapped in a time and a in a flick of humanity when my visions do not find venues, my aspirations are wingless because most people do not even care to understand. It’s this helplessness whenever I burn with passion and idealism but the mainstream, the daily grind of lives can offer nothing but an archipelago of ridicule, materialism, underestimation…water. I feel like I don’t belong here most of the time. My gravity cannot thrive.
Here I am being swallowed by the many fangs in the society. Most of the time, out-swallowed. Like the weakest of species in the food chain.
Mud Grey/ YinYang Eye symbolizes my fellow Filipinos who are in and below the poverty line. In a country where poverty smells, looks and feels filthy, there is a thin line that separates them from the most evil and the purest – to worsen possibilities to get by or to live nobly despite the challenges. Poverty is a hungry beast. No one gets out alive. The poor spends each day in quest for that light at the end of the tunnel. They go to bed hungry – in the tummy, gut and morale.
Pale Blue/Sunshine Eye stands for Filipinos who earn a living through blue-collar jobs. They do most hard work, the most laborious of all and are sadly, paid the lowest. They do what it takes to see that little glimpse of sunshine each day – to provide for the basic needs of their homes and to escape the mouth of extreme poverty. Their feet are defiantly crossing between the strong teeth of struggles and survival. Their eyes welling with hope but uncertain where to sow it.
Bluish White/ Squinty Eye represents those who spend each day of their existence doing white-collar jobs. They get all these hierarchical favors and recognitions but beyond that lay boredom, shallowness and superficiality. They consume what is meant for those who do most hard work because they are the so-called “schooled”, the “qualified”, the “professionals” – all day long, everyday, they sit on their lazy chairs doing the same thing. They envision the next company excursion or an exciting moment that they can brag in social media sites like Facebook.
Orange/Possessed Eye is for those who evade the fang of poverty and the tedious life brought about by the blue and white collar jobs. The criminals. Those who take the short cut – risking the flesh, the spirit, the future. Those who drown themselves into means that would somehow let them forget how it feels like to starve, to be deprived, to be disarmed. Orange does not mind being eaten by the green watery mouth. It gives itself away in the attempt of relief or in the pleasure of destruction. Its intoxicated eyes can see no beauty in the light.
Green/Silver, Gold and Bronze is for the old big fart glutton called the business/corporations. Their greedy mouths have made materialism rule our lives. They feast on the ignorance, false hopes and weakness of the working class, the hopeful and the poor. They salivate on the power to take over and provide what they feel can hypnotize many to their utmost advantage. In the Philippines, foreign entrepreneurs have been enjoying this buffet – special mention to the Chinese and Tsinoys and the many others who are, to date – burping on what OUR people are working hard for. All they see are monetary signs blaring unceasingly. They go wet for that.
Red/Camera-Television Eye refers to the Mainstream Media. So this mouth of blood is chewing everyone into the smallest of pieces – down to the finest bit when our minds, hearts and spirit cannot beat at all. This selfish mouth over-sensationalizes the bad news, over-dramatizes the good ones. It is fed by the strongest not to tell the truth. It produces all these advertisements that make you the ugliest, fattest, insufficient person in the history of mankind. They sell products fancily that you wouldn’t think all the most fatal chemicals are there. It builds all these humungous streamers on streets to blind you from the real path. And because it is a total all-mouth pacman, it wants you to stop seeking for the truth, it wants you not to be unique, it wants you to live a fast stressful life and it happily toys on this idea that you owe them something. It has been and is STILL destroying homes, visions, dreams and people who have the potential to make a difference. Be very careful, it sees through your skin and comes up with ideas and innovations that will kill you softly.
Yellow/ Thick-rimmed glasses is for the PNOY Administration, the greatest bakulaw/aswang of our time. It eats the media by petting them- releasing ‘pagwapo’ features telling that everything is going well and poverty is getting remedied. It licks the anus of the businessmen by allowing them to do all these in exchange of money and favors that happen under the table. It’s not doing the best that it can for its people because after all, it has JUST rose out of drama – the mother died (the mother who rose into power because the father died a hero’s death). It does not look into and just looks at its countrymen in blurs.
Blue /American Eagle eye is undoubtedly for Obese Uncle Sam. He has lived life eating junk food and binging on anti-depressants. His might has stripped the Filipino soul from the natural rich culture, the most treasured values, the community spirit and the gaiety. In return, he has introduced extreme individualism, insecurities, unhealthy lifestyles, phoniness, subordination and a whole bunch of trash that does not feed meaning into a life. Uncle Sam does it very well. Its mouth of the foulest smell – is obsessed with domination. He has laser focus on getting more power each day.
Dark Violet/ the Eye of Ra is the unknown eye that watches everyone. And because it has the power to see each of us, it is in lust of all our failures, because from these downfalls, it can come up with crafty outcomes to lure us. This unknown eye penetrates every hue, every human. There’s no hunt for this bastard because it could not be seen.
These colourful mouths stand for the festive colors of my beloved Pilipinas. These vibrant splashes carry with it the starving fangs that swallow each other and swallow me.
I dream of a better country. My visions overflow and I can imagine how difficult the journey is for the many other Pinoy visionaries out there (not just the artists) BUT there are so many hungry beasts that we have to slay every time. Whenever I create something, I dream to send the message across but my eyes see the world, the fangs see something else. How can they even look into mine (into ours)? My own mouth is often times muttering words that may have made/ may make a difference but I wonder who listens.
I dream of a better country, a home. I shall continue to see and to look into, defiantly with all the tender power that I have within. The mouths might be gigantic and filthy and foul but I shall live for the colors, for the light, my mouth shall preach how great this country is. And that above anything else, mouths are openings. Therefore, light can still pass through them.
I am an artist. I am a visionary. My eyes are my mouth – my voice.
written by Kristine Buenavista