Fallen heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic are at the center of an online animated museum that is part of the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde Center for Campus Art’s ongoing digital art exhibition.
“Hall of Heroes” is Benjamin Marasigan, Jr.’s contribution to the online art exhibit “To Differ, Digitally 2: Love and Dissent in the Time of Pandemic.” The CCA led by Architect Gerry Torres and the New Media Cluster headed by Associate Dean Maria Sharon Mapa Arriola called on faculty members for “works in digital media that will venture to engage with and generate new content from its audiences online.”
Marasigan, founding chairperson and full-time instructor of the DLS-CSB School of Design and Arts Animation Program, is among 17 artist-educators and industry practitioners who heeded the call.
Curator Karen Ocampo-Flores describes TDD2 as “a fresh opportunity to deliver messages of social commentary through the digital medium” and “a timely response to conditions wrought by the present scourge of the COVID-19 virus.” This is only the second time that CCA collaborated with NMC as a group after launching its physical exhibit “To Differ, Digitally: Calls for Change Through New Media” in 2017.
“In this second year of the pandemic, we experience within our communities the harsh outcome of lockdowns: the loss of jobs, the lack of resources for survival, and the basic power to care for our health, physically and mentally. Overall, we grow more anxious about our future,” Flores explained in the exhibit brief found at CCA’s website (https://www.benildecampusart.com/exhibit/to-differ-digitally).
“The museum conceived as a monument by Benjie Marasigan, Jr. presents to us the necessity to both grieve and to never forget those who perished so that others may live,” she added.
Aside from being a tribute to frontliners and fallen heroes of the pandemic, Marasigan’s digital creations also serve as his reaction to the government’s response, amid volunteerism and bayanihan efforts.
“As I was watching the news about the deaths and difficulties faced by the frontline health workers, I felt helpless, frightened, sad, and guilty. Guilty of not being able to help because I cannot get out of the house. I tried to think of ways on how to best contribute to the effort against COVID-19, given the limitations of the situation,” Marasigan, who has been teaching in Benilde for 20 years now, shared.
“Since the start of the pandemic up to the present, I have tried to document what was happening in our country, through my digital illustration and paintings,” the former Hanna-Barbera animator added.
Marasigan, also a past president of the Animation Council of the Philippines, Inc. (ACPI), likewise paid tribute to efforts of volunteer citizens such as community pantries. “One such volunteer group is the Art Relief and Mobile Kitchen (ARMK), headed by my friends Alex Baluyut and Precious Leaño. Their advocacy to give decent meals to communities affected by both natural and human calamities is very inspiring. In the same spirit, I volunteered to document their initiatives by painting the ingredients they used, the food they cooked, the people they feed, and the ARMK volunteers in action,” he concluded.
Apart from the Animation department, NMC also counts Digital Film, Photography, and Multimedia Arts under its faculty roster. Joining Marasigan in the exhibit are filmmaker and creative producer Seymour Barros Sanchez, film educator and writer Jag Garcia, motion graphics artist and designer Yolec Homecillo, multimedia designer Hannah Sison, 3D artist Volty Garcia, graphic designer and writer Katrina Juane, visual communicator Vanessa Puente, visual artist Emily Mones, designer, writer and artist Brian Bringas and graphic designers Dino Brucelas and Rafael Liao, writer and designer Ericka Garalde, multidisciplinary artist Teta Tulay, event consultant Mito Tubilleja, writer and content developer Penny Angeles-Tan, and photographer Jay Javier.