Symbolisms in Tarantadong Kalbo's 'Tumindig' artwork

·Contributor
·2 min read
(Source: Tarantadong Kalbo/Twitter)
(Source: Tarantadong Kalbo/Twitter)

Taking cue from the viral artwork by comic artist Tarantadong Kalbo which has garnered around 45 thousand likes on Twitter, digital artists banded together to stand up (“Tumindig” in Filipino) for the nation.

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The original artwork posted by Tarantadong Kalbo on Saturday (July 17) with the caption “Tumindig” was brilliant in its simplicity, and yet packed with meaning. 

It featured people portrayed as closed fists bowing down to mirror the fist bump gesture popularized in the country by President Rodrigo Duterte and his allies.

Tarantadong Kalbo’s drawing focused on one particular fist person who was standing up and glowing, seemingly depicted as enlightened. In this position, the person resembled a raised fist, symbolic of the gesture popular among activists across the world which often expresses solidarity, strength, or resistance.

The fist person to the right of the glowing “Tumindig” fist person is seen sneaking a glimpse at the latter despite keeping their kneeling position. This can be interpreted as a person who has yet to stand up because they are not yet enlightened or “woke” (“mulat” in Filipino activist lingo). But at least he has one eye open, unlike all the rest of the kneeling fist people whose eyes remained fixed on the ground, blind to what surrounds them.

Tarantadong Kalbo chose the color midnight blue as the backdrop of his artwork as if to show that the fist people were kept in the dark, with the “Tumindig” person as their sole beacon.

The art snowballed. Within hours, online artists started posting their own iterations of Tarantadong Kalbo’s work, populating it with more fist people who were standing up.

(Source: Tarantadong Kalbo/Twitter)
(Source: Tarantadong Kalbo/Twitter)

Here are a few of them:

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Ana Catalina Paje is a development journalist passionate about grassroots communication geared towards genuine social change. She also writes about showbiz, lifestyle, and all things Pinoy pride. The views expressed are her own.

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