“Sukal, Sulak, Sulasok”
Oil on canvas
Sukal, Sulak, Sulasok is a response to the quincentennial anniversary of Magellan’s voyage and introduction of Christianity in the Philippines. Masukal or dense sulak meaning boiling or simmering, and sulasok meaning nauseating or disgusting is what I named this work. My response serves only as a reminder and a point of reflection. Not having lived through these events, the act of remembering felt like going through a dense forest of memories in our history and seeing a place that became a boiling pot where gruesome acts have been committed, hence sulak and sulasok. Most anniversaries are meant to feel like there is a need for celebration, but I personally felt the contrary in this 500-year commemoration. Although it is true that we have come a long way from being a colony. Traces of our colonization is still and already deeply embedded in our culture. We have no way of undoing this since it is the system that brought us up, raised and fed us. The distorted image of the jungle is my way of remembering our nature. What we lost literally and figuratively through the hands of our colonizers. I am not just speaking about the Spanish colonial era, but through all the generations before me. The atmosphere in the image depicts a scene of dread, and of a turbulent time. It portrays land flooded with our ancestors’ blood soaking the roots with it. Trees melting into each other a symbol for the assimilation that we have now and also a sign for the changing of times. Changes in time require changes in us as well. Today, everything is melting through our lives and is now come to a point where we are told to celebrate this horrific point in our history. However, it is also in our nature to evolve as a collective and as an individual. But, let us never forget our past, our roots, and the blood that the people before us has paid for our freedom and rights.
The contemporary world is the usual subject of the works of Justine Chloie Marco. As an aspiring relevant contemporary artist and graphic designer, she is currently a college freshman under BFA Visual Communication at the College of Fine Arts, University of the Philippines-Diliman, aiming to widen her knowledge and hone her skills further on different forms of art. Born and raised in Marikina City, Philippines as the second daughter to a middle-class family, she was not always given the opportunity to practice on different mediums other than the simple pencil and crayons. The artist was first exposed to art through coloring books and the time she spent coloring and doodling away on them. Growing up, she was influenced by both Western and Japanese animated shows she watched on television – as Justine first practiced drawing by trying to copy the art of the animation, as well as the colorful street art in their city – which translated in her art through the distinct lines, vibrant colors, and the not-so-realistic way that she draws people. Other than traditional art, she also dabbles in digital art through digital collage and typography, as well as theatre under performing arts.