Monsoon Luzon (1996) is a photograph by German artist, Kristina Damm. The photograph captures a Jeepney driving in a monsoon near Manila, Philippines. The landscape is a common site in the Philippines’ big cities but the angled perspective offers novel art.
Damm appears to have photographed this image from a car; the subject is a Jeepney vehicle driving past. Jeepneys are similar to miniature buses– major forms of public transportation to and from a general area. They are open-ended, for quick entries and exits. And although they have relatively spacious interiors, if at capacity, it’s common to see young men standing, hanging on to its exterior from its rear or sitting on top of the vehicle’s roof racks.
The light-hearted, smiling people make one strangely desire to adventure this tropical weather where torrential rains are an everyday occurrence during the monsoon season. As a result, people flee the storms seeking refuge in nearby shelters. The streets usually flooded with people instead flood with rain. The hot air is sticky and heavy and people wonder whether the rain spontaneously restart. The unknown doesn’t stop the Filipino people from moving forward. In fact, in most cases, Filipinos resume their day-to-day activities once the rain passes.
The enduring culture of the Philippines is so carefree, however, in recent years there have been attempts to phase out the traditional Jeepney in efforts to reduce emissions and enhance safety for Filipino commuters. The kitschy vehicles are now being replaced by smaller tandem vehicles.
What are your thoughts on current movements to desert the iconic Jeepney as a mode of public transportation?
Limited Edition Prints available on Saatchi art for $390: Monsoon Luzon (1996) by Kristina Damm.