WE RISE AGAIN FROM ASHES
In “We rise again from Ashes,” Archie Oclos takes the soot and smoke of the charcoal industry in Ulingan, Tondo and highlights the universality of workers' experiences and aspirations.
IHuman capital is dirty business. Corporations are built by and on the backs of workers. In effect, all workers live off the ashes of industry and progress. In this dog‐eat‐dog environment, no one gets out with their hands clean.
IInspired by the written work “Revolution and Counter‐Revolution” by Karl Marx, the collection takes a stand for and alongside the workers of the world. The universality of social conditions that necessitate work and labor transcend age, sex, and race. Still, the collection pays homage to the specific experiences and realities of the Filipino working class.
I“We rise again from Ashes” acknowledges the cyclical patterns of history, and the regularity of challenges that confront workers. Despite the seemingly endless push and pull of obstacles and workers' struggle, what remains constant is our resilience, dignity of work, and our fight to rise above the grime.
Archie Oclos graduated from the University of the Philippines with a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts in Painting.
Oclos’ works are of an optimistic tone as it displays a series of images with children in the foreground. It is a collection of paintings that challenges our notions of how to attain freedom—that even when vices and distractions, such as fancy things, seem to give us a temporal liberty from our problems, these cannot really help us to attain the freedom we want to achieve. Just as the children in the paintings, we can escape, we can be free and that is, through education. And as such, we can find comfort, knowing that, even when the world seems dreary and cruel, we can actually do something to release us from our already drab existence.
One of his exhibit is the Paradigma at Galerie Anna. Paradigma is a collection of works by Archie Oclos that reflects the head on collision of what is real and what is created by technology; it is a battle that spilled over on the canvas. In its totality, Paradigma shows the gloomy state in which people are in: on one hand, man benefits from the fruits of technology—computers help communication and work easier for instance—and on the other hand, technology alienates man not only from other people but also himself.
The paintings are complex. Some works are of images of technology and its counter part in reality shown in blurs that only Oclos can create; and there are some that are surreal and whimsical: these show how man has really become fascinated by technology to the point that he lets it manipulate his life. The tone and emotions are successfully set by the artist’s choice of colors.
His colors have that strong multiplier effect as the gallery lights hit his brushstrokes. The natural outburst of varied hues reflects immensely giving viewers a visual treat of its shades.