The 7x9 feet three panel mural painted by the University of the Philippines Artists’ Circle Fraternity to commemorate the 20th anniversary of SV Rainbow Warrior’s bombing.
The 7x9 feet three panel mural painted by the University of the Philippines Artists’ Circle Fraternity to commemorate the 20th anniversary of SV Rainbow Warrior’s bombing.

“All art is but imitation of nature.” - Seneca

Back in the day’s people spoke of folklores and legends in explaining the world around them, nature. But before that there were pictures which ranged from the pre-historic drawings of mammoths in cave walls, to the Egyptian’s hieroglyphics, to the fine art of the renaissance, up to those graffitis that embellishes a whole lot of spots varying from your average toilet wall and almost any other conceivable area that represents the vibe of an urban landscape.

Such is the case of the picturesque 7x9 feet mural painted by the University of the Philippines Artists’ Circle Fraternity to commemorate the 20th anniversary of SV Rainbow Warrior’s bombing in New Zealand. The mural speaks of its heritage as an emblem of environmental protection.

The Rainbow Warrior Bombing

July 10, 1985, was a sad day for Greenpeace as saboteurs belonging to the French Secret Service detonated a bomb onboard the Rainbow Warrior, killing the ship's photographer Fernando Pereira and causing irreparable damage to the flagship. This was the ultimate highlight of the forlorn ways of purveyors of nuclear destruction amidst the growing consensus for a nuclear-free world.

Presently, the Warrior serves as a refuge for various marine life at the bottom of Matauri Bay in Cavalli Islands.

Twenty years later, amidst the array of environmental challenges at hand the spirit of the Rainbow Warrior lives on, definitively inspiring others to act and continue in making a difference with her story.

The Artists’ Circle collaboration

In commemoration of the 20th anniversary of her sinking, Greenpeace Southeast Asia enjoined the Artists’ Circle Fraternity in creating a mural for the legacy of environmental activism enthused by the Rainbow Warrior through the years.

The Circle, which is a university-based fraternity, traces its roots to 1972 when a dozen artists (most of which are UP faculty members at present) reached the decision to start an assembly aimed at unifying artists of diverse persuasions for the advancement their respective crafts. With a roster of well known names such as stage actor Lex Marcos of Fluid and The Iceman Cometh, visual artist Rock Drillon, and ‘Bert is Evil’ mastermind Dino Ignacio, the 35 year old Circle has a lot to be proud of.

According to Circle member Tomas Leonor, they’re not really that new to Greenpeace and its cause. He mentioned that their collaboration with the group started in May 2004 when they helped in setting up a booth for Greenpeace during the screening of the climate-change disaster film "The Day After Tomorrow."

But it wasn’t until July of this year that they were approached by Greenpeace to work on the mural.

The finished work showcased a rainbow hallmarked with images of milestones that adorned the rich history of Greenpeace, serving as a fitting tribute to the Rainbow Warrior and its adventures.

According to the group, they’re no strangers to using art as a medium for advocating causes on a variety of issues. It’s all but natural to them since the university they came from has been known for highlighting the value of individual and collective contribution for social progress. In fact, they’ve done a lot of pro bono work that includes the Palma Hall mural, conducted a workshop for kids, hosted art competition and cultural nights.

The whole month of working on the mural included an overnight and intense time management in completing the artwork and in complying with their class requirements.

In spite of all that, they reaped an excellent work of art that not only decorates their portfolios but it also includes them in the annals of Greenpeace’s history as part of the many who picked up on where the 1st Rainbow Warrior left off in its struggle for giving this fragile Earth a voice.

Chuck Baclagon