Dance of Change (2014) by Weriel Mallari

Title: Dance of Change (Sayaw ng Pagbabago)
Year: 2014
Artist: Weriel Mallari
Medium: Oil on canvas
Size: 35 in. x 35 in.

Distinctions:
Finalist Entry,  45th edition of the National Students Art Competition of Shell Philippines, 2015

About the work:
Discovering new talent is always acceptable amidst the decay of older painters whose works tend to look clichéd. But in the case of Weriel Mallari, new talent is not merely good, it is evident in the painting represented above. Completed while as a student and submitted to the 45th edition of the National Students Art Competition of Shell Philippines, Dance of Change by Mallari presents a self-portrait of the artist in the performance of a type of dance that went viral locally several years past. Those video clips showed prison inmates dancing in sync and celebrating their transformation while inside the penal institution.

The process of art making also utilizes a similar paradigm. When given lemons, one does not go to rot but makes great juice instead. It is also peculiar that the prison shirts portray the letter P which may mean not only prison but prayer, penitence and the Philippines. While majority of new art tends to go international in flavor and in search of wider markets, this is different. We like new art that celebrates the cultural distinction.

Prisoners who wear orange shirts are sentenced for perpetuity. They are in reclusión perpetua. Metaphor is not mockery. True lovers of art are imprisoned to another kind of freedom.