The Filipino word diskarte denotes the terms ‘technique’ or ‘tactic.’ It connotes a strong sense of being street smart, where one has enough gumption and skill to turn every challenge or obstacle that one encounters into an opportunity.
Visual artist Noel Solis focuses on this theme of diskarte as he unveils his first one-man exhibition at Finale Art File’s Video Room. Straightforwardly titled, the exhibit is comprised of figurative paintings rendered in oil on canvas, portraying the common man engaging in literal and figurative balancing acts to get by: the motorcycle rider needing to transport a larger load than usual, the plastic bottle collector maximizing the chance to collect items while supply and demand lasts.
The sense of diskarte is consistently exemplified in the various ways Solis’ subjects go about their business. For Kilo depicts the scrap metal collector, hauling away an entire vehicle that has seen much better days. Meanwhile, the motorcycle-riding men in the works Atras Abante and Balancing Act strike a precarious bid for survival while transporting larger than life loads, loading their respective vehicles to maximum capacity.
The works mirror the very real struggles of the common person to get by in daily life. Yet, as the artist’s own light and airy palette and subjects seem to hint at, these are troubles which can be faced head-on, with a hint of hope at eventually arriving at one’s destination intact.