FLEA MARKET FIND. Every living creature on the face of the earth deserves to be immortalized in art. For the creator of the Garapata Man, the blood-sucking crawler is no exception. This round, multi-legged, puffy-eyed character has become an urban icon.
We were first introduced to the Garapata Man and its creator at the Escolta Saturday Market. When we asked the artist why he chose the garapata as the subject for his art, he directs us to the social reality of Filipinos that like the garapata – ‘kahit saang sulok ng mundo may Pinoy na makikita.’
GARAPATA EXHIBIT. We took part in the opening of the Garapata Exhibit at The Collective last Saturday. For this exhibit, the gallery has been transformed into a hive where the crawlers were all over walls and are scattered in random corners as functional stools and wooden pieces of art.
Spectators watched a video showing how the wooden pieces were individually carved.
STREET ICON. During our walks around the city, we’ve seen the garapata icon on bus seats, streetlamps, food carts, and sometimes in unexpected spaces. But while the garapata continues to become part of the urban streetscape, it is gradually evolving into something functional. For now, sling bags, t-shirts, coloring books, necklace pendants or keychain, and wooden stools are available.
EPILOGUE. There is something to look forward to on what the creator of the garapata will think of next.