I have always believed that art and magic were the same thing. In magic, you can manifest power by manipulating objects. These objects (such as images, symbols, and signs) could be utilized to induce activity on the forces of nature and create different mystical phenomena.
This is the main reason why the majority of my works are expressionist ink sketches with figurative representation of resistance against capitalism, patriarchy, racism, imperialism, and other backward manifestations. I believe expressionism is a product of resistance against impressionism and academic art; an art movement charged by emotions, spirituality, and mysticism. This makes expressionism a viable art style to be used in creating symbols that depict people’s emotions in a bourgeois world, where the experience of death and horror is unending. Using expressive representation exposes the filth of a class society, bringing discomfort in the form of lines and figures in bold colors.
These representations can be gleaned from my artworks, specifically Femicide and Wanted: My Oppressor. Each is a dialectical reflection of the other. Femicide is an ink sketch of a woman in pain, grieving and bleeding. Representing all the women murdered in streets, in campuses, and in the workplace by a culture of oppression. The woman’s figure is inspired by the Wari culture sculpture in Peru, where many indigenous women are being killed by multi-national mining companies and corporate land-grabbers and yet they still remain unheard and voiceless.
On the other hand, Wanted: My Oppressor is my expression of the monster that continues to persecute women and queer people. A demonic monster in priestly garments is stabbed with a Venus symbol and an old rainbow flag. Symbolizing the monstrous role of clerical fascism in the struggle of women and LGBTQ, I chose the Oni of the Japanese folklore as my inspiration for the demon. In Japanese culture, the invisible spirit Oni is believed to cause disaster, disease, and other unpleasant things.
My chosen medium is ink and digital technology. Art should be accessible to all. By using readily available materials, we can produce art. Making the production and distribution of art more accessible to the people. I use ink and residual paints to draw my ideas on recycled paper. After sketching some figures, these will be electronically scanned, then digitally manipulated. As I consider myself a mere medium, I make sure that my artworks are always free and available to the people because it truly belongs to the people’s culture and history.
Art is the vision of the proletariat, the immortalized narrative of people’s struggle. As artists, it is our duty to expose the demons of a class society. It is our duty to create revolutionary art that will develop the consciousness of the proletariat and strengthen their political resistance. It is our duty to put art back to its proper place, as a constitutive part of human consciousness and social being. Let us bring art and magic back together through a socialist revolution.
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A young dissident art shaman from the Philippines, Kulog Kuwago is a socialist activist involved in film, theatre, poetry, and visual art. He endeavors to explore the use of different indigenous cultures and traditions in the development of Marxist art practice. He is also interested on how Brecht’s epic theatre can be used in different art forms, especially film. He is a Philosophy student from the University of the Philippines and hails from Dinalupihan, Bataan.