Sometimes, Harry Monzon's illustrations traverse into the surreal in trying to capture real human experiences. Harry is a member of Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan and in 2018, he won the PBBY Wordless Book Prize for his book Pagkatapos ng Unos.
In Quaderno: Yakap by Harry Monzon, the award-winning illustrator plays on the various meanings of the word yakap to create artworks that translate our realities into visual narratives.
What inspires/motivates you to create?
Most of the time my drive to create is in the wanting to understand. I got this enthusiasm for not knowing exactly the endgame of what I’m doing, so getting lost in questioning an idea gives me the will to keep on working.
What does your art represent?
I’m not that confident when it comes to the identity of my art. My primary objective is to translate into art how the world and our society operate. I want my art to be a vessel that creates awareness of what we are and what we need as human beings.
What does yakap mean to you?
For me, yakap is the surrendering and coming together without the barricade of judgement and inhibition.
What was the idea behind your yakap artworks? How did you came up with it?
The idea for the series came from the looking beyond ‘yakap’ as just the interlocking of arms. I thought of incorporating bird wings to the idea because of its ability to spread out and cast a sense of warmth and welcoming.
Could you walk us through your artworks?
In "Himbing," I wanted to portray how yakap creates a nest that dissolves our fears and lets us be in tranquility. "Alalay" is also our safeguard that nurtures. It makes us bigger and go distances.
"Kislap" is the light that forms in its mutuality. The light that can guide us to understanding one another. Lastly, "Laya" shows freedom. Yakap, even if it’s binding, should not be restraining.
How can art be a source of yakap to others?
I think art can be a source of yakap when it can articulate experiences that are familiar back to the viewer. When it can pass the message that it is okay to feel every aspect of being human, even the instances of being weak and insufficient, maybe this reaching out can fill voids.