Friday, September 16, 2022
Murals have a long history in American art, dating back to John Trumbull's proposal for the Capitol in Washington, D.C. My first mural was created in the early 1990s. The Taro Sue mural on Middle Road was one of the first mural projects I spearheaded. Taro Sue had coordinated the project with the Commonwealth Council for Arts & Culture through the National Endowment of the Arts Council and a local artist and one of my mentors, Noel Quitugua. This mural featured a latte stone, which is part of the CNMI's history and culture, as well as the picturesque beauty of a bird perched on a tree against a backdrop of a big blue ocean.
If it weren’t for past CNMI artists like Michael Tapp or Robert Hunter, I wouldn’t have found my passion in art. As a little boy growing up, I envisioned my life as a police officer or in the army, but then I ended up doing directional signs where I found passion in drawing. In 2006, I was called to do the mural plastered on the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium in Oleai. I would like to recognize the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs’ Commonwealth Council for Arts and Culture for deciding on Roil Soil’s artwork for the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium’s new mural that was created this year.
I've done murals for businesses, residences, and corporations since then. Today, I am now able to do roadside murals thanks to the Governor's Council of Economic Advisers who have helped procure the paint and materials needed for each mural. My most recent murals can be found on the As Lito roadside in front of Guangdong Hardware, the Chalan Kiya Road leading up to the Northern Marianas College, and the San Vicente road side mural.
Volunteers welcome for GCEA’s Public Private Partnership event on Rota
I'm looking forward to traveling to Rota with GCEA at the end of September to help with the mural at Dr. Rita Inos Hocog Jr./Sr. High School. The school’s advisers and Student Council have developed a design that aligns with GCEA's Marianas School Pride Mural Contest theme, which is open to all schools throughout the Marianas to join. The mural will showcase school pride, so the design will feature RHIJSHS's school mascot, the Chamorro Buck.
While we are in Rota, GCEA will be celebrating its Second Anniversary by hosting a special Rota community project. Volunteers are welcome to join GCEA on Fri., Sept. 30 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. to beautify the Rota Mayor's Office and Benita Manglona Park. I'd like to extend a warm invitation to our Rota residents or anyone on the island at that time to participate in this worthy cause. Interested volunteers can sign up at cnmieconomy.com. GCEA announced that the first 50 people who sign up and volunteer at the event will receive a t-shirt.
I'd also like to recognize my team for working with me to create and paint murals throughout Saipan and Rota. I have been working with young, up-and-coming mural artists for the past few years. I hope to inspire and teach more CNMI artists to give them hands-on experience so that perpetuate local art and create meaningful murals across the CNMI.
I'd like to thank Gov. Ralph DLG. Torres and the House Minority of the 22nd CNMI Legislature, especially Rep. Joseph "Lee Pan" Guerrero and Rep. Angel Demapan, for recognizing my talent and assisting me in expanding and sharing it throughout Saipan and Rota. I’d also like to thank my Indigenous Affairs Office team – IAO Director Roman Tudela, Jomanda Manglona, Isa Hofschneider, Jack Reyes, Ben San Nicolas, Mario Sablan, Herman Manglona, Tryver Manglona, and many more – for backing me up with their talent.
Lastly, thank you, GCEA, for allowing my team and me to create monumental murals throughout Saipan and Rota. I hope that we will be able to do the same on Tinian very soon. Together, We Can!
For more information visit the GCEA website at cnmieconomy.com. Engage with the Council on Facebook and Instagram (@cnmigov.economy) or contact them at email@example.com.
By Luis S. Ogo
Luis S. Ogo is a passionate local artist who is driven to tell a story while continuing to beautify the island through the use of his murals. He is committed to sharing his knowledge and experiences for local artists who are interested in cultural painting.