BY MADS BAJARIAS | Eric Guazon held his fourth solo exhibit "Grids of Fear" at Hiraya Gallery in Manila early this year. "Young War Veteran" was one of the works shown. Four feet by four feet, in oil, acrylic, glue, sawdust and photo-collage on canvas, it reflects the artist's decade-long preoccupation with the legacies of armed social conflict and its effect on children.
I asked Guazon a few questions about "Young War Veteran."
Does "Young War Vet" refer to a specific person in your past or to children in conflict situations, in general?
EG: The inspiration behind it are young ex-combatants in general. But I've also known people who've been through such a difficult life. I've come to know ex-soldiers and ex-urban guerrillas who were on opposing sides of the urban guerrilla campaigns in the late Marcos and early Aquino regimes. It wasn't an easy time for anyone and anyone who've been subjected to the trauma of those years can become scarred for life. This is also a commentary on the Iraq war and how in wars the innocents suffer the most.
Tell us about the toy soldiers.
EG: Those aren't actually plastic toy soldiers glued on to the canvas. The embossed effect is a result of a sawdust-and-glue mixture that I used. But yes, when I was a kid, I played with toy soldiers and for the past 10 years the recurring themes in my works are the conditions of child-soldiers and kids in conflict situations, so I used toy soldiers to represent the atmosphere and memory of violence.
Where can people go to see your work?
EG: The paintings from "Grids of Fear" are at Hiraya Gallery. I have a few at Tin-Aw Gallery. I think I may still have a few at Kulay-Diwa in Parañaque and at Nineveh Art Space, Laguna. Some of my earlier work can still be seen at www.123soho.com.
Thank you, Eric.
Maraming salamat din sa 'yo.