Muslim on representation, art and his viral work

The revised ‘Makabagong Rajah’ artwork. (Wallid Weynne Viray Mohammad)

Representation matters, especially for a minority group.

This spurred 20-year-old Wallid Weynne Viray Mohammad to create a digital oil painting of the City of Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko” Moreno Domagoso as a Makabagong Rajah.

This new portrait instantly swept the world of social media, as netizens praised the work. It soon caught the attention of Yorme himself. Not long after, Wallid held onto his prized canvas as he marched on to the Manila City Hall.

Born to mom Emma Viray Mohammad, who is with the Singapore School Manila, and his father Zeynar Mohammad, who worked at the Qatar Racing Club as a graphic designer, Wallid, the eldest of two siblings, grew up in an art-loving clan. His grandparents, aunts and uncles and their nieces and nephews are all involved in music and the visual arts.

DC Comics supervillain The Joker.

As a child, he frequently enjoyed and engaged in cartoons and animated films, and this became the inspiration for his future plans. The budding artist is currently taking up Bachelor of Arts in Animation at the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde.

We had an eye-opening chat with him and here are his thoughts:

On digital art

“I chose to specialize in digital art for it is limitless. The possibilities are boundless — from 2D to 3D. You can even animate and add awesome enhancements. Creations can be astonishingly amazing!”

On creative process

“The conceptualization is always the hardest part. A lot of thoughts are considered to come up with a singular vision. I express myself using a combination of traditional freehand drawing and modern art through my tools of the trade, the Wacom Intuos Pen Tablet and Macbook.”

PRINCESS Leia from ‘Star Wars.’

On inspiration behind the Isko Moreno piece

“I wanted to show appreciation for Mayor Isko Moreno. Initially, for his recognition of the Muslim significance in Philippine history, specially in the City of Manila. Secondly, for establishing a Muslim Affairs Office, which looks after the welfare of our communities. And finally, for launching the first-ever Manila Muslim Cemetery. These brought about the inspirational image of a great leader — a datu or rajah with multi-sectoral representation.”

On feedback received

“My Isko Moreno artwork went viral, shared by thousands of online users and big social media accounts. I am grateful for all the feedback I have received. Together with several congratulatory comments, I took note of the negative ones, mostly pointing out historical inaccuracies, such as the shield was of a different culture, Muslims do not have tattoos nor wear G-strings or bahag. I have since revised my piece accordingly.”

On current projects

“As I improve on my craft and explore various art styles, I look forward to my collaboration with the Manila Muslim Affairs Office, with a desire to encourage young artists, through art, to contribute in the transformation to a better society.”

On career goals

“As I had a happy and awesome childhood due to my exposure to films and cartoons, I dream to be a part of Disney or Pixar. I want to make kids happy. Their childhood should be as awesome as mine.”

Message to today’s youth

“As a young Muslim leader, I urge our countrymen to recognize the significance of Muslims in our own history, as our roots play a key role in the identity of Filipinos. I wish to encourage my fellow youth to actively participate in nation building. As an artist, I hope to continue to inspire others and impact our society through my pieces.”




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