Pop Culture Becomes Protest Art in DLSU Student's Eye-Catching Pieces

She wants to reach a wide audience: "Kahit bata o matanda."

(SPOT.ph) Protest art, which depicts messages of activism and social movements, can range from graffiti to massive site-specific installations. Some, such as effigies and banners, are also often used during street demonstrations. But student-artist Alexandra Brotonel thought of a different way of conveying her take on national issues: protest art using movie posters and consumer goods as subjects.

"I started creating protest art to fight for the Filipino people in 2019. Having the said passion and talent for art, I just couldn't stand and watch how the government blatantly abuses and manipulates the vulnerable sectors in our country. I chose and will always choose to create protest art to amplify the calls for change and justice," the 20-year-old Early Childhood Education student from De La Salle University-Manila shares with SPOT.ph in an online exchange.

protest art
ILLUSTRATION Alexandra Brotonel

Beautiful Protest Art

Her pieces include a version of the movie poster of South Korean film Parasite; instead of having the impoverished Kim family at the wealthy Park family's house, there are renderings of government officials. Fast-food staples like French fries and pies are also transformed to convey striking messages.

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"The usage of movie posters and consumer goods as my references for each protest art is my way to reach broader audience. Kahit bata o matanda, mayaman o mahirap, the references I use ensure that everyone can relate and understand. And as someone who creates protest art, it is my responsibility to relate and validate the struggles of the Filipino nation. Hindi ko man nararanasan ang direktang pang-aabuso, gusto ko ipaaalam sa inyo, na naririnig ko kayo. Nakikita ko kung paano kayo pinahihirapan. At hanggang kaya kong gumuhit at magsalita, patuloy akong titindig para sa karapatan ng bawat mamayang Pilipino," Brotonel adds.

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Protest Art
ILLUSTRATION Alexandra Brotonel
Protest Art
ILLUSTRATION Alexandra Brotonel
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She uses digital art and distributes her works through social media, which is an effective avenue for sharing her advocacy with fellow students. Brotonel's works may not be as publicized as protest street art, but the digital sphere allows her "to inspire students like [her] to use their privileges to create change not only for themselves but for the nation."

Also read: Cian Dayrit on Protest Street Art, Peasant Theater, and How Art Can Be "Badass"

When asked about Panday Sining's controversial pieces on Manila's walls, she pointed out that the goal of protest street art "is to disturb the undisturbed." "Those progressive artists exist not to vandalize but to demand a change and seek for justice," she adds.

Protest Art
ILLUSTRATION Alexandra Brotonel
Protest Art
ILLUSTRATION Alexandra Brotonel
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And with satirized movie posters and consumer goods, Brotonel seeks "to instill a sense of urgency to the Filipino youth to fight against the oppression and abuse."

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