Tacloban City, Leyte, Philippines—Last May 6, I had the wonderful opportunity to visit Tacloban City, thanks to my ongoing art residency with Plan International. Tacloban was a city that was devastated by Supertyphoon Haiyan / Yolanda in 2013. I founded The Apocalypse Project around the same time, and this city figures well in my talks.
Four years later, the city has shown amazing physical recovery. A ship that ran aground has been turned into a memorial:
Another ship that went aground
I hopped on a tricycle and paid my respects to one of the mass graves for Haiyan victims:
A mass grave in Tacloban for Haiyan / Yolanda victims
I was a bit alarmed at people who rebuilt their houses by the sea:
People rebuilt their houses by the sea
Resilience involves adaptive design. Here is a new sign that alerts for storm surges, which is a new term the residents learned, as the waves had never been that high before:
Storm surge sign
I tried to put myself in the position of people who lost their houses. Even the big ones didn’t stand a chance:
A house devastated by Haiyan
The next day was my workshop on art and climate change. I was a bit nervous—for the past years I had to encourage people to widen their imaginations on climate change events, and here I was with young people who had experienced way more than I had:
We made some perfumes for The Ephemeral Marvels Perfume Store:
And made science fiction shadow puppet theater:
Shadow puppet theater workshop
We also made sculptures for a new project I’ll be releasing in a few months:
sculpture of a tree that fell down because of the superstorm
It was the kids’ first brush with polymer clay, and it was fun toasting these in the oven.
Sculpture time! How lovely are these!
perfumes and sculptures
The kids’ favorite activity was building resilient communities using paper:
Cutting up paper infrastructure and nature for climate resilient communities!
Resilient architecture building!
It was a true honor to work with these young people. I can’t wait to turn these outcomes into a proper exhibition! Stay tuned.
Thank you to Plan International Tacloban staff and Kim Junmookda! As always, this was super fun!