In the University of the Philippines-Diliman, art can be found anywhere. We have a museum, yeah, but that does not stop anyone from having an exhibit just right outside the building. By placing art outside, it can get more attention from people who wouldn’t usually bother going inside the museum.
The Vargas Museum is a three-storey building in the University of the Philippines-Diliman campus. It was named after Jorge Vargas who donated his personal collection to the university in 1978. Aside from the regular exhibits in the lobby, the building also has a library and a cafe for the visitors. In front of the museum is a grassy area with some trees. No one usually pays attention to the area, instead, they go directly to the museum to see some art. So imagine our surprise when we saw a sculpture of a pair of giant chicken feet.
Walking further, we saw these road signs saying ‘demolisyon’ (that’s ‘demolition’ to you, English speakers). Scattered in the area were other placards saying ‘End impunity now’, ‘Free the artists’, among others. Some placards had blurred photos of student activists that went missing.
Being state-funded, our university is known for having more radical people in it. Students are not just students, but are scholars of and for the country. Being socially-aware is highly expected of everyone (even the faculty and staff). Protests are frequent, and this is done not only through rallying in the streets but also through art.
By putting up protest placards as an exhibit outdoors, the artists-activists are able to present their ideas to a wider audience. I mean, seriously, just how many people go inside museums? While the placards talk about different issues, as a whole, the exhibit expresses the need to get more attention in order to (hopefully) get out voices heard.