Chito Borja | "Wanderland"
As Ephemeral As Clouds: Notes on Jesusito “Chito” Borja’s “Wanderland” exhibit at NOVA Gallery, Oct. 19-26, 2019
One may easily conclude that Jesusito “Chito” Borja’s pieces are inspired by or even imitation of the works of British artist Peter Root known for his ability to build magnificent replicas of giant things and urban landscape on a minute scale, constructed of carefully stacked staples. Chito, however, admits that he has used staple wires as part of his creative process before “googling” and finding out that his works are similiar to Root’s.
Artist Wire Rommel Tuazon described Chito as an artist who often creates several practically and seemingly identical works that undergo transformations, where a disconcerting aesthetic merges with the touchingly beautiful, yet at the same time, painfully attractive. “He incorporates time as well as space by investigating ambiguity and reconstructing the momentary as a fictional and experiential universe that only emerges bit by bit.,” Wire noted.
Chito’s third solo exhibit titled “Wanderland” echoes this “painfully attractive” aesthetics. He uses stacks of staple wires broken into various sizes to create miniature and aerial shots of military-industrial complex in Europe and the cities that serve as battlegrounds during World War II. The subject and the creative process, thus, involve tedious and painstaking effort, revealing intricate assemblages that bear witness to his great craftsmanship.
The Encyclopedia Britannica summarizes World War II, also called Second World War, as the conflict that involved virtually every part of the world during the years 1939–45. The principal belligerents were the Axis powers—Germany, Italy, and Japan—and the Allies—France, Great Britain, the United States, the Soviet Union, and, to a lesser extent, China. The war was in many respects a continuation, after an uneasy 20-year hiatus, of the disputes left unsettled by World War I. The 40,000,000–50,000,000 deaths incurred in World War II make it the bloodiest conflict, as well as the largest war, in history.
Ironically, Chito, revealed that the concept of his “Wanderland” exhibit was inspired by the lyrics: “Clouds are stalking islands in the sun” from “Baby I Love Your Way” song of singer and anti-war advocate Bob Marley.
“Wanderland” is Chito’s sincere query on why human beings choose the path of war and repeat this flaw in our time. It was tapped by his interest in humanities, philosophy and nature of man. In searching for answer, he poetically waxes that lives lost on atrocious wars are as ephemeral as clouds, violently senseless, and wihout direction but doom.
In presenting these battlegrounds as images, Chito invites the public/audience to share their insight on why hostilities occur in the annals of human civilization.
We can also look at the Marxist theory which includes the belief that war will only disappear once a proletarian world revolution has occurred which overthrows free markets and class systems. Imperialist wars like World War I and World War II were the result of capitalist countries forming international capitalist monopolies, sharing the world among themselves and the territorial division of the whole world.
But this is another subject of long educational and art discussion.
(Jesusito “Chito” Borja, 29, makes sculptures, paintings, and mixed media artworks. His works are often about contact with architecture and basic living elements, using references and ideas integrated into the process and the composition of the works.
He is a painter and musician, a member of the Neo-Angono Artists Collective as well Angono St. Clement Symphonic Band and Orchestra of the Filipino Youth. Born on December 1989, Chito studied until Grade 4 in Hinabangan in Western Samar and San Vicente Elementary School in Angono Rizal, Regional Lead School for the Arts in Angono and University of Rizal System-Angono College of Fine Arts.
He has held three solo shows and more than 20 group shows in various galleries in Angono, Manila and Quezon City. In 2016, he won 2nd prize in the Shell National Art Competition-Sculpture Category.)
Written by Richard R. Gappi