Philippines-France relations

LOOK: PH, France celebrate 75th year of diplomatic ties with collaborative flyover mural in Cebu City

John Sitchon

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LOOK: PH, France celebrate 75th year of diplomatic ties with collaborative flyover mural in Cebu City

COLLABORATIVE MURAL. The mural is a collaborative artwork of Filipino artist Distort Monsters and French artist CEET Fouad.

Jacqueline Hernandez

A flyover was selected as the canvass of the mural – a collaboration between Filipino street artist Distort Monsters and French artist CEET Fouad – to symbolize the 'connection between France and the Philippines'

CEBU, Philippines – To mark the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and France, Cebu City officials and the Embassy of France in Manila led by Ambassador Michèle Boccoz formally unveiled their collaborative mural art at the Archbishop Reyes Avenue Flyover on Saturday, July 15.

The mural is a collaboration between Filipino street artist Distort Monsters and French artist CEET Fouad, curated by Claire Thibaud-Piton of Rose Studio Art Gallery, and assisted by Cebuano artists Bart Bros. and Julius Noel.

INAUGURATED. Officials, artists, and dignitaries lead the inaugural ceremony of the collaborative mural art project in Cebu City. Jacqueline Hernandez/Rappler.

The Embassy of France in Manila initiated the project in June with the support of the local government, M Lhuillier Financial Services, Incorporated, and VIEPro.

“All of them, together with the local artists whom I would like really to thank and congratulate, were able to create harmoniously a fresco that calls our attention, that moves us, brings energy as we reach this most frequented junction every day in the city of Cebu,” Boccoz said in her remarks.

FRIENDSHIP. Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama (right) gifts Michèle Boccoz, Ambassador of the French Republic to the Philippines, a miniature replica of the Magellan’s Cross Pavilion.  Jacqueline Hernandez/Rappler.

French Honorary Consul in Cebu Michael Lhuillier said that they had aimed for a collaborative project in Cebu, citing beautiful mural artworks in Makati and Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City.

In searching for a wall for the mural, the French consul instead proposed a flyover bridge near the Cebu Business Park.

“Why a bridge? Because a bridge connects two points and that’s what we’re celebrating here; a connection between France and the Philippines,” Lhuillier said.

BRIDGING CULTURES. ‘May this mural brighten the day, in some way or form, of all who chance upon it during their daily commute. Let it be an enduring commemoration of the continued collaboration and good relations between France and the Philippines,’ Cebu City Vice Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia said. Jacqueline Hernandez/Rappler.

Lhuillier emphasized the successful collaboration not only of the artists but the local government, the embassy, and the private sector as well.

In his remarks, Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama said, “Let the Philippines and France continue till eternity because that’s what we need: the grandeur of Paris and the mystic of the country called France.”

The artists

Filipino street artist Distort Monsters is primarily known for his colorful characters and creative narrative through the use of his monsters – a visual representation of his “conscience.” His work is heavily influenced by local skateboard and punk rock culture.

“It’s my first time doing something of this scale, you know. Overall, it has really been a fun time,” Distort Monsters said in a video posted on the France Embassy’s Facebook page.

French graffiti artist and Jardin Orange art director CEET Fouad is best known for his Chicanos art – a groundbreaking Mexican-American art movement used to express cultural, political, and social struggles.

“I’m very proud and happy to be part of this project, especially working with Distort Monsters and I like it because we found a simple way to make it; at the same time kids’ drawings and at the same time graffiti,” CEET Fouad said. –

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