Hanapbuhay sa Kalsada (The Street Vendor)

Hanap Buhay sa Kalsada (The Street Vendor)

by: Intiang Cordero

* First appeared on page 70 GSIS Painting Competition 2009 @2009 GSIS Published

Intiang CorderoMetro Manila traffic is not in my list of things to be thankful for but every once in a while I am grateful for it.   It allows me to notice things and people I would naturally ignore if the traffic is smooth – shrubs and trees that flourish in the midst of dust, smoke and scorching heat; commuters hurdled together under an umbrella of a man selling street food, as it begins to shower; men busy with a game of chess oblivious to the revving vehicles; towering buildings in the sky at an early evening; and cottony clouds that tell endless stories with their ever changing shapes and hues of blue, gray and white.  Armed with my cell phone camera, I captured these scenes before red turned green.  I wish I can paint what I saw but was so far successful only with one. 

Hanapbuhay sa Kalsada” was the biggest painting I’ve done so far.  This piece took the whole summer of 2009 plus a number of asthma episodes and heaps of favours from family and friends.  It was February that year when I got an invite from Mr. Rayan Palad, manager of the GSIS museum and a former office-mate, to join a national painting contest for watercolour, acrylic and oil media.  I don’t do acrylic and oil, so it was going to be watercolour for me if I decided to join...I decided to join.  Then the hunt for watercolour paper, watercolours and paint brushes begun.  As for the subject, I instantly knew what I want to paint.

I don’t particularly remember why I decided to paint this subject.  What I remembered was the joy of seeing the painting slowly coming into shape as water and colour pigments bind with the white vastness of paper.  It’s been almost 4 years hence and every time I look at this painting, I wonder, ‘What has happened to this vendor?” “Is he still vending cigarettes, bottles of mineral water and fish crackers on the road where he is constantly exposed to the smoke, the heat and the rains and perhaps flood waters?” 

Hanapbuhay sa Kalsada, (formerly entitled “Siya na naghahanapbuhay sa kalsada”) is one of the few watercolour entries in the 2009 GSIS Painting Competition.

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