Art a Tank: Raising environmental awareness through art


Earth Month Special


How else can we make people care about our environment and contribute to solutions on the effects of climate change that we face?


In the Philippines, especially in the provinces, it is common to see huge water storage tanks that serve as the main source of water supply for many communities. Some water tanks are even as old as their ancestors and braved so many natural calamities in the past decades. Other huge old water tanks are regarded as landmark and a tourist destination.


Up North in Santiago City in Isabela, people have a new reason to look up on its over 40 years old water tank as it was transformed into a mural. The work of art in this 30 meters high water tank – capable of holding millions of gallons of water—captured the images and scenes of the rich and diverse history of the local indigenous communities of Isabela, particularly the Gaddang and Ybanag tribes, as well as the elements pertaining to their environment and of course the life-blood of this province, water.


Dubbed as the tallest mural, the design of the Santiago Water District tank depicts of a woman and a child bringing home their abundant harvest garbed in vibrant colors creating a huge visual impact of mother nature and the communities.


Still vibrant up to now after a year it was painted, the huge water tank reminds people of the importance of culture and the environment. It was painted in shades of earth, sky and water. It is a magical sight on a round surface as the mural change as you walk around it.


The painting of this mural was a major undertaking of a community-based project, Art a Tank, composed of artists, conversationalists and environmentalists from the Dolphins Love Freedom, North Wind Outdoor Recreation Club, Inc. and the Kiddie Toes Montessori School.


For Art a Tank, the notion that has emerged is the importance of connecting people with the arts in translating environmental issues, raising awareness and build support.


The group envisions to put Santiago City in the map, not only in upholding the people’s rights and entitlement, but also to be part of a global effort to promote the arts, respect for indigenous culture and the protection of the environment. The massive and colorful concrete water tank now serves as a great structural icon and landmark, and a great boost in terms of local tourism and trade.


The group also envisions to influence the local government to utilize and leverage on the interest of the local public in terms of water conservation, environmental protection, upholding indigenous culture and rights, supporting local arts and music as well as promoting local tourism in the province.


Soon, dozens of water tanks across the country will be covered by artwork to raise awareness on various environmental issues in the Philippines.


Arts are a fantastic opportunity to represent environmental issues, influence people to be involved with the potential of reaching and impacting the people in the communities.


Renowned artists AG Sano led the group in expressing environmental awareness through art. With his previous works, he was given recognition and countless awards across the country. He is passionate about volunteerism and marine environment and gets inspiration from the communities and marine resources.



For Sano, the project aims to use art as a form of social intervention, to instill cultural awareness, to inspire awe and joy, to educate people and to increase environmental awareness that can influence meaningful change in the society.


“ We are always inspired by nature, the environment and the ordinary people. In this mural, we depict different advocacies from the indigenous peoples, their way of agricultural practices, care for the environment, importance of water and marine life,” Sano said.

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