Museum x DARNA

#DARNA: Darna Ko, Darna Mo, Darna Nating Lahat is an exhibit commemorating Mars Ravelo and Nestor Redondo’s iconic superhero Darna. The exhibit looks at the celebrated character as a cultural icon beyond popular representations. Thirty millenial artists of varying backgrounds and styles share their interpretation of the superhero’s legacy.  The art exhibit is organized by UP Manila BA Philippine Arts students, and can be viewed at the Museum of a History of Ideas from November 10 to 12. (x)

Three things:

  1. Congratulations to the people who organized this exhibit! It must have been quite the logistical nightmare to curate and procure this mix of digital, traditional, and mixed art (as well as a couple of impressive installations).
  2. I loved most of the pieces, though a select few did stick out, including: the Darna costume sourced from a GMA warehouse (!), and the fashion design pieces  ‘Narda MilDos‘ by Robert Francisco. I also found the social commentary present in ‘Face Value‘ by Veka Cruz and in ‘Narda, Narda, Narda,Darna‘ by Daniela Go to be thought-provoking and witty. Lastly, I loved the pieces which transposed Darna to a different time, e.g. the indigenized version in Bianca Morelos’ ‘Mandirigma‘, and the modernized/futuristic interpretations, e.g. Agel Baltazar’s ‘Concrete Jungle‘.
  3. Darna is awesome. When I first (intelligently) encountered the superhero Darna, I found myself a critic. I was disappointed because I thought Darna was simply a rip-off of DC’s Wonder Woman; 1maybe it was another way by which we unnecessarily emulated western culture. But several years back, I saw a thinkpiece on the internet that said otherwise. It turns out that Darna’s predecessor, Varga, was conceptualized by Mars Ravelo in the late 1930s — as an answer to the American Superman (who was first introduced in 1938), yes, but also as a character historically independent of any direct template. Wonder Woman herself will only be published years later, in 1941. If there are any similarities in costume and capabilities, then they are coincidental to her current incarnation and director, and not inherent to who Darna is. More than that, the story of Darna talks about Filipino values. It’s not just all action and strength. At its core, Darna is the story of Narda, her alter ego. It’s a story that champions the humble and the pure-hearted.

Catch the exhibit today! Support local! 


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