'Paint it forward': Volunteers create murals to help remote communities, cancer patients
MANILA, Philippines – A few weeks ago, you would only see a plain, white wall when you pass by Symphony Drive in Circuit Makati. Now, these walls are bursting with color through the efforts of Climb Against Cancer (CAC) volunteers and several Makati citizens.
CAC founder Nini Sacro led dozens to work on the vibrant mural paintings on Sunday, October 20. The project began on September 24 at the Makati Parking Authority Wall near the Makati Medical Center as commissioned by Makati Commercial Estate Association (MACEA).
The activity sparked the curiosity of nearby residents, family members of patients, and street children. Sacro encouraged them to take a brush and join her. Since then, she has been working with CAC volunteers and the Makati community every weekend to give life and color to an empty wall. (READ: 'Artwork by the sidewalk': Ilonggo painter's life changes after going viral)
This project is for the benefit of several remote mountain communities and Lumad schools in Bukidnon and for the medical treatment of indigent cancer patients in Silungan ng Pag-asa and Bahay Aruga in Manila.
A community activity
MACEA originally commissioned Nini Sacro alone for the project, as an added effort to beautify Makati. An artist above all other things, Sacro had been commissioned to paint murals on walls of various establishments around Metro Manila. However, right from the beginning, she knew that this was an experience she did not want to keep to herself. (READ: Legal graffiti wall transforms city and art)
“Yung una talaga is trabaho, 'di siya for a cause. So during the presentation, sinabi ko sa MACEA na if it's okay, gusto kong magpinta kasama ang CAC volunteers, kasama ang community. I want them to own the artwork,” Sacro explained.
(It was really just work in the beginning, not for a cause. So during the presentation, I told MACEA, if it’s okay, I want to paint with CAC volunteers, with the community. I want them to own the artwork.)
Other companies decided to commission more murals in areas along the Makati Central Business District. The commission money from MACEA, Circuit Makati, Ayala, and Nuvali will support CAC's advocacies: helping those with cancer, and those with the social cancer of poverty.
‘Paint it forward’
CAC volunteers are no strangers to painting murals. While mostly known for praying over cancer patients on top of the country’s numerous mountains, the organization frequently conducts outreach activities in remote communities, giving goods and school supplies. The outreach programs include painting murals with the community: ArtReach, a combination of “art” and “outreach.” (READ: Volunteerism: Changing the world one child at a time)
In contrast to the outreach motto with “pay it forward,” the motto for ArtReaches is “paint it forward.”
Sacro mentioned that both mottos complement each other: through "paying it forward," you give without asking for anything in reward, and through "painting it forward" you gain the resources to be able to give.
The success of ArtReaches in these communities gave Sacro the confidence to apply the same principles when painting in Makati.
“I know na kahit maliit na bata, madaling maturuan ng painting (I know that it's easy to each even small children how to paint),” Sacro said.
“Hindi siya dapat exclusive na trabaho; it's not even trabaho. Dapat passion mo that you get to share with 'di lang 'yung volunteers, but the community; ma-identify ng community ang selves nila in the artwork. It's their wall. 'Di lang 'akin," she added.
(It’s not meant to be exclusive work; it’s not even work. It’s supposed to be your passion that you get to share not only the volunteers but with the entire community. The community can see themselves in the artwork. It’s their wall. Not just mine.)
Sacro and her team of volunteers will return to Circuit Makati to finish the murals and are happy to accept more help. Painting the mural is free and open to all.
Although volunteers are invited to come paint at 8 am to 5 pm every weekend, Sacro stays until 10 pm to draw the outlines that the volunteers will color in.
They are also accepting donations of school supplies for the benefit of children in poor communities. People who are interested in donating may contact Nini Sacro at 09163162879.
Sacro says that the Circuit Makati project is projected to end around Christmas this year while the MACEA project will end in 2020.
Updates on where the team will be painting next are regularly posted on the Climb Against Cancer Facebook page. They conduct mural painting sessions once a week.
To future volunteers, Sacro says: “Let's step out of our comfort zone and do something for humanity.” – Rappler.com
Dorothy Andrada is a Mover from Roxas City, Capiz. She is currently based in Quezon City as a college freshman at the Ateneo de Manila University.