Grant #418

Hila-bana Street Art

September 28, 2020

These Murals Are The Only Way Some Filipinos Will Ever Meet Their Fellow Citizens

As you can see, Venazir Martinez makes dramatic street art in Baguio City, Philippines. This Filipino muralist describes herself as a visual-anthropreneur, and her striking portraits of people from the Cordillera region of the Philippines are more than just a beautiful sight.

The project is called Hila-Bana, a Tagalog term that means “temporary stitching,” or basting, implying that a common thread runs through each of these cultural identities, connecting them as a nation.

Her portrayals of Filipinos with different cultural identities represent people living in the same inland area but who may never have the chance to learn about each other. “In the Phillippines, education is a privilege,” says Venazir. “The majority of our people lack the opportunity to study, to be able to appreciate our local history, culture, and literature. I believe in the power of street art as a supplementary learning tool, helping to immortalize the local culture bearers. They represent each culture from our diverse regions. This project can create a detailed visualization of a unified nation, as our people constantly seek to define a unified national identity.” The Ifuago, the Bontak, Ibaloi, Kankanaey, Kalinga, Apayao, Gaddang, and the Tingguians might be completely unknown to each other if not for Venazir’s work.

This Awesome Without Borders grant will help with the basic expenses of painting large outdoor murals: latex paints, spray cans, brushes, scaffoldings, food, and more. Venazir is not just creating art with paint, she’s weaving a tapestry of her country’s people. See what she paints next by heading to her website and Instagram.

Category: Activism, Art, Civic Engagement, Community, Culture



After 11+ years, we’re signing off and closing applications for good. We’ve supported 571 projects with $571,000 in grant dollars. We’re so proud to have celebrated such incredible work. Please visit for more information on other AWESOME chapters! And thanks for sharing so much awesomeness with us.

Team Awesome Without Borders