Art Campaigns: Art, Campaigns!

FEU Advocate
July 25, 2021 13:31

By Lance Christopher A. Bisda

Some still invalidate the notion that ‘art is political’ but when we have a common ground that the society and the masses have heightened socio-political awareness, can art still be trivialized to its aesthetic value and disregard its reflection of the present times?

#Tumindig (stand in dissent), the viral online campaign from the satirical cartoonist Tarantadong Kalbo, has revolutionized the online platform where artists, writers, organizations, and well-known people  come in solidarity to join this movement through their artistic expression in social media. 

Kevin Eric Raymundo, the artist behind Tarantadong Kalbo, has gained popularity online since the first illustration of an illuminated taas kamao (raised fist) avatar taking a stand in dissent amongst the crowd of fists bowing down, resembling the signature icon of President Duterte and his allies.

The rampant creation of unique raised fist avatars with their hashtags besides #Tumindig summates an underlying theme: people are taking a stand in different socio-political issues through their artworks. #DefendPressFreedom, #JunkTerrorLaw, #BetterAndQualityHealthCareSystem, #RegisterToVote are some of the uproared sentiments and advocacies incorporated within the postings.

Navigating through this centralized attention, they disseminate a call to action to the government and especially to the people.

Like all the artists who have lived before us, artists of this time carry a tremendous responsibility in taking part in the creation of societal consciousness especially during this pandemic where almost everyone’s engagement is concentrated within the digital spheres.

Through this constructivist movement, the artists weaponize their creation to wake up people who are still in denial or perhaps disconnected to the horrors that live within our society in which numerous oppressive and exploitative agendas further the worsening of our nation’s survival.

The caption that we see in online posts or the chant we hear in mobilization in the streets, ‘artista ng bayan, ngayon ay lumalaban’ (artist of the nation, now resisting) declares an ongoing war that artists partake in: the fight for a better system.

With a surge of progressive people being killed due to red-tagging, artists even behind their screens are in a constant state of life insecurity because this threat remains the most used tactic of the opposing party to intimidate people and foster fear. This incessant brutal attacking of vulnerable people often leads to their demise as blood becomes the language of the said side.

But like a fire burning in the middle of darkness, the light within the soul of every artist remains thirsty to ignite the dimming sparks of others and to always continue to fight back for a better nation.

#Tumindig campaign does not and will not end once its popularity has faded in the shadow of recent trendings because right now, it calls for a bigger imperative from us, the Filipino community, to share this collective spirit towards challenging the decaying status quo of continuous incompetence in handling the needs of the people.

The critical social commentary portrayed on the illustration of Tarantadong Kalbo should not only be immortalized and reconstructed. This campaign compels us to ignite or reignite the fire within us and must take the beacon of hope by registering to vote, by actively engaging with different issues that may or may not directly affect us, and by being receptive to the plight of our fellow countrymen especially those who are exploited, oppressed, and marginalized.

Which raised fist avatar do you consider the most empowering and close to your heart? Leave your comments at 

(Illustration by Mary Vel S. Custodio and Christine S. Abrenica)