Toym Imao’s giant jeepney installation at Lucky Chinatown

Megaworld Lifestyle Malls’ Lucky Chinatown in Binondo, Manila, features a giant jeepney installation from acclaimed Filipino artist Toym Imao at its heart as part of its celebration 125th anniversary of declaration of independence of the Philippines.

Originally intended as a tribute to the resilient jeepney drivers impacted by the pandemic, the country’s biggest jeepney installation, made out of yarn, returns as a symbol of Philippine culture and perseverance, the perfect centerpiece for the mall’s grand Independence Day exhibit.

The iconic jeepney is joined by more nostalgia-driven art pieces from Project Hulmahan’s exhibit, which are on view until 18 June.

“I have worked with Megaworld and its owners in the past, and I am a frequent visitor here so it was an easy decision to make. It also helped that the mall already has a specific artwork in mind to feature,” shared Imao in a brief media event for the installation.

Imao’s work combines spectacle and intimacy, depicting images and symbols that highlight the familiar elements of Filipino childhood and culture.

“It’s a public art installation meant to be seen by the public so Lucky Chinatown Mall is a good venue. ‘Celebrating Freedom’ also appealed to me because I am a history buff,” he added.

With a successful career spanning 30 years, Imao plans to build a place where he can showcase all his works, host art residencies, give workshops to friends and fellow artists, and build a vibrant artist community outside Metro Manila.

“I saw many talented and passionate young people who unfortunately did not make the cut because they lacked proper skills and training,” he said.

Megaworld Lifestyle Malls, the retail and commercial development arm of Megaworld Corporation, one of the Philippines’ largest real estate companies, promises to develop this partnership with Imao and other local artists, and to create platforms for more local products, businesses, and artists in their properties.

“We are striving to give our local artists the proper platform amplification assistance we can provide for them as Megaworld Lifestyle Malls wants to be at the forefront of such a movement, to be recognized as a company that supports the arts and culture in all its endeavors year-round. We hope that this will be a start of something bigger for us and Toym down the road,” shared Lucky Chinatown general manager Norico Mizoguchi.

Imao’s jeepney and Project Hulmahan’s art pieces depicting Filipino traditional games are on view at the atrium of Lucky Chinatown.