Indonesia was the first, and so far the only (hopefully not the last) foreign country I have visited.  One thing I did while traveling there was to look for public art.  It was important for me since public art of any country speaks a lot regarding their culture, heritage and beliefs. The more I see public art, the happier I feel seeing that a country or a group of people would show that they appreciate and celebrate their heritage, triumphs, tragedies, religious beliefs through monuments and memorials; and even just for aesthetic and artistic purposes to make people stop, stare and smile at whimsical, thought-provoking statues and sculptures (and take souvenir pictures with!).  For me, a country that features public art in their streets and parks is a sign of progress and wealth–not in terms of economic but in terms of progress and wealth in thinking, heart and national spirit.

My country still needs to come to terms with this.  Public art here is not much given importance.  In his column, a former mentor of mine talked about the mysterious vanishing838179240wrfev94 of his sculpture near a mall.  He says he is not bitter, and that all he could do was raise his arms in resignation–c’est la vie!

And the recent news about the defacing and sorry state of Eduardo Castrillo’s Bonifacio Monument (right pic) near the Manila City Hall was another thing to sigh about… and sadly, even expected.

Of course, I understand the reasons why these things happen and I don’t have to enumerate them.  Di naman ako nagagalit dahil naiintindihan ko. But there are times I do feel like living in a cultural wasteland though.  All you can do is bear and deal with it. But the dreams refuse to die.  Yes, I still have hope.  Like, maybe in the future someone can come up with a new material that is an ideal medium for public statues, durable enough that it can withstand the harsh tropical heat and the constant batterings of typhoons, strong enough that it can’t be chipped by ignorant vandals, and useless enough to be ignored by thieves who otherwise would break parts of it in order to sell, and cheap enough so that the government and corporations can sponsor it but yet should still be aesthetically pleasing.  Naive, much? Maybe, but it doesn’t hurt to dream.

And at times like these, I still go back to one of the ‘life advices’ that I choose to live by: Bloom where you’re planted. This means that being trapped in a ‘desert’ should not be the end of the world.  I can still get to bloom and learn where I am right now.  Thank God for the internet and people who have cameras which have enabled me to search for public art around the world.  And I don’t have to buy expensive coffee books, too, in order to learn about them (sorry, book publishers, well–you know how it is)…

12-03-2008_00-20-44So with this, I present my photoblog on public art: we heart public art. It is something I’ve been working on for quite sometime now. And I’m quite proud of it.  This is not just for me.  This is for all those who also feel like living and being trapped in bleak, cultural wastelands, too…  It is for everyone who loves public art, supports it and encourages it–even if you’re surrounded by people who don’t.

It is taking some of my time but I do love this endeavor for in a way, it is like being back in art school, learning more about artists and sculptors now more than ever before.  And also for the mere reason that each public art that I find interesting enough to be featured in the blog transports me to that place.  So yeah, I’ve been to the Melbourne Docklands, the streets of NY, Reykjavic in Iceland, Puerto Vallarta in Mexico, Stone Town in Zanzibar sans expensive air fares.  I presented the artworks in such a way that one can view it in different angles–and if possible at different times of the day– so it gives you a sense of being there (this is the beauty in three-dimensional artworks for when viewed in a varied light and from several angles, you find something different about it and may even surprise you at times). That’s why I am indebted to the people of flickr who are willing to share their amazing pix for everyone to see and enjoy.

These are some of my personal favorites: samples of public art that I featured in the blog. To find out what they are, click on the pix and it will link you to the site. Enjoy and be transported like me!  Happy trip!

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