Books & Art

Meet the Filipino Artist Who Reimagined Thanos As a Retired War Veteran

Basti Penayes III’s Indiogram series aims to preserve local tradition through art
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We’ve been seeing a lot of reactions to the blockbuster hit Avengers: Infinity War for quite some time now. While some expressed their love for the film by making hilarious memes, there are some who took their Infinity War hangover to the next level by creating artworks inspired by the scenes and characters from the movie.

However, there’s one particular illustration that stood out from the social media clutter and caught the eyes of netizens. The artwork reimagines Thanos as a retired war veteran, chilling at the top of our country’s famous rice terraces.

Look:

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The post, shared by Facebook page Bastinuod, was made by 25-year-old Cebu-based artist Sebastian “Basti” Penayes III. In an interview with FHM.com.ph, Basti shared that his now-trending digital art is not just merely about the end scene of the film (sorry for the spoiler)—it also serves as a metaphor for the foreigners who've chosen to stay (or retire) here in the Philippines.

His viral Retired War Veteran art is a part of his digital online series, Indiogram. “Indiogram started a year ago. It all began with the question: ‘What might our ancestors say about the things we are doing today?’” he shares. “Then I started featuring the Filipino trends today and mixing them with vintage traditional settings.”

According to the University of the Philippines (UP) Cebu alumnus, the purpose of the series is to let the public remember the past. “Through mixing the ‘old’ with what's new today, I am hoping that the generation now will remember and not forget our traditions.”

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Another piece Indiogram art that made waves online was his rendition of today’s much-talked about streetwear culture, the hypebeasts.

Basti explains that this was inspired by the traditional attire of our ancestors. “This artwork shows our obsession with fashion and to be called trendy, as represented by our ancestors. Of course, with a twist—I added shoes to their traditional attire.”

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His fondness for digital art started when he was in 3rd year college, during animation classes. He first used Adobe Flash back then, under the tutelage of the late artist Professor Jethro Estimo. Now, he mainly uses Adobe Photoshop in creating his pieces.

Just like other artists who post their work on social media, Basti gets unsolicited negative comments. “Some people misinterpret my artwork and the message I want it to relay. Some people bash it but I always choose to just ignore,” he shares.

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There’s also the threat that people might reproduce his artworks without his consent, but that fear doesn’t stop him from creating and posting more.

“My aim is to preserve history through my art,” he says. “I will continue [the Indiogram series] as long as we have trends—both from the past and in the present. Our culture is filled with endless opportunities. The challenge is to relate the history to the present, and that’s my—and Indiogram’s—goal.”

This story originally appeared on Fhm.com.ph.

* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

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Khatrina Bonagua for FHM.com.ph
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