TWENTY-four-year-old muralist Venazir Martinez has just recently started on her most ambitious project. That is , a mural parading Cordillerans in traditional and modern attires.
It was to be a continuation of what she had been doing and envisioning since four years ago.
Back then, she already called it Hila-Bana which comes from the Tagalog word “hilbana” meaning a stitch used as temporary fastening. She made a play with the word and formed “hila-bana” or “pulling the stitch.”
The concept was to have the people in her mural connected by a red string pulled out from each of their clothes.
Then she got the grant from the National Committee of Culture and the Arts to execute her concept. It was a dream come true. She started her mural on a wall in Marcoville where she happily painted over her old mural, envisioning her subjects to be eight-feet tall.
But only a few days after she started getting her subjects painted, someone tagged on her works. Tagging would not even describe that vandalism. Most taggers would tag on empty walls or their rival gang’s tags. But this vandalism was malicious. The ugly black scrawlings went for the faces and clothes in the mural.
When the vandalism was reported on social media, neighbors at Marcoville pointed to Belmar Badua as the culprit. Witnesses said he had been defacing other artworks before. The 27-year-old Badua was said to be a skater and a neighborhood bully.
As it turned out, Venazir was also able to do some sleuthing on her own, looking at the initials left by the vandals and finding him on Instagram.
During a dialogue last Wednesday at the Marcoville Barangay Hall, Badua even admitted to being an artist. He was one of those included to paint in the Pasakalye graffiti at the Skyworld temporary building in Session Road.
But even during that graffiti painting, many of the artists said they were bullied by Badua.
And as some of the Netizens noted, a street artist has a code and one of them is to not deface the work of a fellow artist.
Venazir, however, did the divine thing. She said she forgave Badua and even talked about having him collaborate with her in the future.
This did not bode well on her fellow artists though some congratulated her for such a kind act.
Venazir admitted to having been deeply hurt by the violent act. And it was in the painful meditation while hurting that made her forgive Badua.
Venazir has returned to repairing her mural. The police and the neighbors said that they will keep a careful eye on the mural.
BCPO Chief PCol Allen Rae Co said Badua is still not off the hook and they might still just file cases against him..