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Avila, Tia


Acrylic on mixed media paper

Antibodies are that which are known to help the body defend itself from alien substances such as viruses and bacteria. In my perspective, our history has built a form of antibody that is ever evolving and adapting to today’s challenges. In the 16th century when Spanish colonization took place, early Filipinos fought back and struggled under foreign rule from then on and continued to fight for national independence. In 1971, UP Diliman students protested over the social inequality during Ferdinand Marcos’ rule, and held rallies that when attacked violently, was met with outrage and further strength. Now in the turn of the next decade, the Philippines is holding up against the current Covid-19 pandemic that upended the lives of every citizen through precautions and vaccines.


My work, “Antibody”, is a painting in recognition of the defense and resistance that the Philippines cultivates in such times of struggle. A woman who embodies the Philippines is laid bare, wherein impositions of her past are burning up in smoke within her body. An archaic Spaniard ship is attempting to raise its tattered sails. UP Mathematics Professor Inocente Campos’ car lies in disrepair from the damage of student’s fury from the injustice done to Pastor Mesina Jr. A symbolic representation of the Covid-19 virus is falling apart and breaking up in particles. The Philippines exposes herself as green antibodies burst from her chest and appear around her body. Despite everything, our nation continues to defy its struggles, in its history to the present.


Tia Avila is an artist who specializes in acrylic and watercolor painting. Her focus is centered on the impressionistic beauty of nature and the human body, detailed in the expression of life and environment. Her works have been displayed in organizations such as Galeria Alvero, Universitas: Filipino Youth, Where Are You Going, and Art in the Park. Tia Avila is a graduate of the University of Asia and the Pacific in the Humanities program, and is now currently studying at the University of the Philippines, Diliman, College of Fine Arts in the Studio Arts Program.la