Blurring the line between reality and make believe, Marco Ruben T. Malto II, a fine arts professor at University of the Philippines, tackles the concept of fake news that has been prevailing in this generation in his exhibit “Peksman!” displayed at Sining Kamalig, Ali Mall, Cubao, Quezon City.
Giving the audience a glimpse of the past through a thought-provoking interpretations of the artist, Malto shares that his personal advocacy focuses on the social context and basic good Filipino citizenship. Behind the title of “Peksman!,” Malto explains that the phrase is used around the urban setting in a context of making a pledge or a promise and making someone believe that a certain thing is true and does exists.
“These [artworks] are all about experiences based on Philippine History whether or not true or false,” says Malto. Exposing fabricated facts and the dissemination of false information or stories based from urban legends, hearsays, or myth, the Peksman! Exhibit puts truth into context and importance—an admirable endeavor in this post-truth era.
Each of Malto’s artwork has a take on particular situations in history until the present age. Respectively, each of Malto’s artwork also has a story to tell which will surely put facts into perspective and give individuals a chance to appreciate his artworks and Filipino society as a whole.
Linking the past and the present, “Photobomber” questions who the real photobomber is in this situation: Jose Rizal or the group of kids taking a selfie? The concept was inspired from a building structure photombing the Rizal “Luneta” Park—Torre de Manila.
“MALING GREATWALL OF CHINA”
This triptych artwork connects to convey a message and tell a story—Mao Tse Tung or Mao Zedong pissing in our shores, a kid with his sling shot trying to target the giant, and a pig referring to the canned meat product Ma Ling, a Chinese product. The rainbow symbolizes the phrase “at the end of the rainbow is a pot of gold” implying how the Chinese government thought that there was a gold mine in our shores. Inspired by the issue between China and Philippines on Scarborough Shoal ownership, the artworks give its critique on the Chinese government a satirical tone laden with symbolism.
“ASWANG IN THE CITY”
During the 70s in the Marcos’ era, there was an urban legend circulating about the proliferation of the Aswang in the city to scare the children and the people—but lo and behold, the reality turned out to be the government’s actions of “salvaging.” On the dead people or victims of salvaging found on the streets, the government reasoned out “kinain ng aswang” as an alternative truth.
“SUNTOK SA BUWAN”
In the piece, there are two astronauts on the moon with a jeepney and a Filipino flag along with a chicken used as a Filipino element. This artwork represents that the phasing out of jeepneys would be impossible as it is engrained in the Filipino culture. The moon represents the impossibility. The concept behind this artwork was derived from the recent movements to phase out the old jeepney models.
A visual symbol of a bomb, the artwork send the message that as we build cities and civilizations, blowing—and popping a bubble—will symbolically destroy everything. The concept was inspired by the Marawi siege.
The phrase “Dilang Anghel” means a prophecy of the destruction of the Altar based from the Christian bible, however the artwork does not intend to discriminate, but is instead inspired by the issue between the Christians and the Muslims.
Depicting a weeping woman with the context of ongoing campaign against drugs, internet trolls and the concept of “blind following” encompass the message of the artwork, questing the values system of Filipinos in this age of social media that may at times be toxic.
Depicting President Rodrigo Duterte clad in his iconic checkered polo and hidden behind a mask, the art reflects back to the Japanese period when an individual would just point at a suspected traitor who would later end up executed and killed—a mirror of the extrajudicial killings of the war on drugs.
Bordered by the late president Ferdinand Marcos and his wife Imelda Marcos, the center figure depicts the young Tasadays in Philippine History who were the Neolithic groups living in the middle of civilization. If you will look closely, you will see the gold bars and the Yamashita treasure hidden in the art.
If you want to see more of these compelling artworks of Mr. Malto, you can drop by at Sining Kamalig as the exhibit runs from November 26 to December 15, 2017. For more information and updates, you can go to and check their social media accounts, Sining Kamalig on Facebook and @SiningKamalig on Twitter.