Tapping into themes of memory and history, Rodel Tapaya weaves contemporary reality with folk narratives in a vibrant tableaux inspired by folktales and pre-colonial history. Cane of Kabunian, Numbered But Cannot Be Counted (2010) won him the 2011 Signature Art Prize. The painting – displayed at the 10th Gwangju Biennale in 2014 and now housed in the Tiroche De Leon collection – features imagery from Filipino folklore, merging multiple narratives and diverse allegorical references, from the central canine figure to origin myths and other creatures. Tapaya cautions against humankind’s greed and environmental destruction. In a similar vein, Mountain Fantasies (2012) comments on the dangers of over-mining and the importance of preserving of nature. The painting draws influence from Filipino legends such as the beautiful forest goddess Maria Makiling who protects the woodlands, and spirits who nurture seedlings where old trees have died. Tapaya’s work serves as a critique of humankind’s rush towards progress at the expense of the world around us.