Two weeks before I was due for my first visit to the Philippines, Typhoon Yolanda (internationally known as Typhoon Haiyan) hit the country. It was officially the strongest storm ever recorded on landfall, + the deadliest Philippine typhoon on record, devastating entire cities, killing thousands, rendering tens of thousands injured + homeless, + causing unimaginable damage.
Responding to this catastrophe, the Filipino graffiti + street art community (along with many other communities + organisations nationally + worldwide) sprang into action to help their fellow countrymen + women suffering in the aftermath of Yolanda, organising emergency relief + fundraising events across Manila. I had been in contact with a few Filipino street artists in the lead-up to my visit, + was invited to become part of their fundraising efforts at a couple of events only hours after I was due to land in the Philippines.
I arrived at midnight, we fought our way through the smoggy, chaotic Manila traffic to the apartment, I slept for a few hours, + awoke at dawn to travel to Fully Booked bookstore + event centre at Global City, the venue for Art for Heart:
The venue was buzzing with many artists all donating resources + time to create works, which were then to be auctioned, + many supporters who had arrived early to buy sketches, artworks + paintings. It was an incredible introduction to the country for me; I made many new friends; learned about art techniques, conventions + culture in the Philippines; heard many horror stories about the typhoon + many heartwarming stories of strength + generosity; + painted alongside a collection of the most active + high profile graffiti + street artists in the Philippines, including members of the CVTY Crew + PSP (Pilipinas street Plan):
My piece was created with a variety of media including charcoal, latex paint, ink + marker pen; the charcoal I brought over with me, the rest of the materials were kindly donated by Geloy Concepcion, Jood, Koo Koo + Rai Cruz. It was a fantastic event to be a part of, + it was super to witness the energy, enthusiasm, laughter + goodwill of the Filipino graffiti + street art community, while they created a range of super artworks for the upcoming auction.
The successful event raised $787,000 pesos on the day, with around $300,000 pesos coming from direct art sales, even prior to the street + graffiti artworks being auctioned.
See footage of the event here, along with a small cameo jetlagged appearance by me:
Thank you to Fully Booked, PSP, Geloy, Jood , Carrot Bombing, Rai + the Filipino Street Art Project, for informing me about the event + allowing me to take part. I look forward to following your work online, + seeing you all again in the future for more graffiti + street art adventures.