Spotlight

This Artist’s Dark Humor

Sheds Light Into Society’s

Reality

by Anne Marielle Eugenio, October 31, 2019 1:42pm

Collage by Dani Elevazo

Spotlight

This Artist’s Dark Humor Sheds Light Into Society’s Reality

by Anne Marielle Eugenio, October 31, 2019 1:42pm
Collage by Dani Elevazo
 

We’ve read the news. Another innocent teen stared at the barrel of a gun. Without any proper jurisdiction, he was killed. It's nothing new anymore. Extrajudicial killing is the social issue the Philippines need to face and resolve. Still, we find it convenient to turn our eyes away from the real problems. 

 
 
 
 
 
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To disturb us from the comfort of our bubbles, Malayo Pa Ang Umaga tackles social issues in the form of sketches—and unjust deaths are only one of his themes. 

Illuminating the Dark Facade

Malayo Pa Ang Umaga is not related to an OPM hit by Rey Valera. But their artworks and subliminal tweets also depict how our country is far from the morning that is hope.

Ang tao ay likas na may takot sa kadiliman. At tuwing balot ng takot ang tao, parang napakahaba ng dilim, ng gabi. Parang kay layo ng umaga,” Malayo Pa Ang Umaga said, explaining the origin of their name.

 
 
 
 
 
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As mysterious as their artworks, Malayo Pa Ang Umaga doesn’t have an identity. Rather, they don’t want to reveal it. But the absence of a face doesn’t affect the way their humor rattle and disturb people. This artist knows how to hit the audience at the right spot, provoking emotions and reactions.

Making The “Dead” Come to Life

Malayo Pa Ang Umaga uses odd inspirations for his haunting artworks. They look at the forgotten, making people remember what they’ve neglected over time. Looking at their illustrations, you might think it’s another creepy page filled with scary drawings. Indeed, the sketches are frightening as they reflect the reality of our society, every unsolved problem of our community and its people.

 
 
 
 
 
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“[Ang inspirasyon ko ay] mga lapida na walang dumadalaw, mga inaapak-apakan na puntod kasi hindi na nalinis o naalagaan. Pinabayaan, hindi na napapansin. Walang halaga tulad ng mga buhay na bumubulagta sa lansangan,” they said.

Si Telesporo Ay Nahimbing is one of the most beautiful and haunting works of Malayo Pa Ang Umaga. In this zine, Telesporo had a nightmare of a place filled with unmourned dead and how people grew used to them. Somehow, this is similar to the victims of extrajudicial killings and how people often forget their lives.

 
 
 
 
 
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This subtle action seems like a cry to bring justice to these victims and put the spotlight on things that really matter.

Light Sketches for Dark Matters

Interpreting Malayo Pa Ang Umaga’s monochromatic illustrations is like peeling an onion. Their art has several layers: first, you will get scared, and then you will laugh at the intelligent and dark humor the art has within. But then you’ll realize that humor points to a more serious matter.

 
 
 
 
 
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Sometimes, these artworks will bring back ghosts and monsters of the past. You’ll realize they never really left you—you just learned how to ignore them. Malayo Pa Ang Umaga knows how to combine art, humor, and social awareness to create the right kind of discomfort. For Malayo Pa Ang Umaga, these people are the true writers and they are just mere illustrators.

 
 
 
 
 
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What is Malayo Pa Ang Umaga’s true aim? Their objective still remains in the dark, but we think they have shed a lot of light in spite of.

Sa ngayon ay nasa dilim ako, ikaw, lahat. Walang kasiguraduhan. Walang kasagutan. Siguro masasagot ko yan sa pagdating ng liwanag. Kapag narito na ang umaga. Pero hangga’t malayo pa ito, sasayaw tayo sa dilim,” they said.

 

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