CULTURE

This webcomic reminds us that it’s okay not to be okay

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Comic artist and animator Tarantadong Kalbo on dealing with the pandemic. Illustration by TARANTADONG KALBO

Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — “OK, Not Ok” is Tarantadong Kalbo’s evocation of how he and his wife have been dealing with the toll of the pandemic and how being optimistic doesn’t always work, especially these days.

He says, “Social media has been very toxic lately, especially with what’s in the news. At the same time, there are these “just be positive” messages floating around which I find really absurd. I also wanted to show how the pandemic has affected us on a personal level.”

The artist, known with his moniker Tarantadong Kalbo’ has been working in the animation industry for 13 years. “I’ve worked on shows like 'My Little Pony' 'Curious George' and is currently part of Rocketsheep Studio’s ongoing feature 'Hayop Ka.' I created the page Tarantadong Kalbo as a safe space for my thoughts. I was having the worst anxiety attacks last year, and I badly needed an outlet to deal with my depression other than playing games.”

It makes sense that it’s through his drawing and animation skills that he’s dealing with the pandemic. He says he's been drawing, dumping them all on his page, and talk about them in the comments section. Memes, of course, are part of his coping mechanism."The funniest ones really help me get through the day. That may not seem much, but with the way things are going, getting through each day is actually a big deal.”

But it is also through art that the artist remains hopeful despite all the terrible things happening around us.

“I am hopeful because people are starting to ask for accountability from our leaders. One thing I realized with managing my page is that art has the power to affect people. It can make them laugh or cry. It can give them a different perspective on things and change their opinions. And most importantly, it can amplify the voice of the oppressed.”

Read the webcomics below.