By Jun Ray Navarres
Team Lakay disclosed a 9-foot tall, 24-foot-wide mural in one of the walls of Baguio Athletic Bowl to recognize the stable’s warriors who conquered and dominated the world stage as a part of project “Heroes”.
The master of the craft was no other than their very own Harold Banario – a BRAVE CF bantamweight contender which currently has a record of five wins and two losses.
“I can say it’s an obvious choice since they’re my teammates and coaches, but perhaps they trust me and believe in my talent. I’m very delighted since this is my first time doing a mural this big. It’s an amazing feeling being chosen to do this monumental painting,” shared the 25-year old fighter and artist.
Banario found out about his talent at an early age following his other four siblings who are also artists. The first to recognize his talent was his teacher in first grade.
“I think it was way back when I was in elementary, particularly in my first grade, where I drew random things and submitted it to my teacher. I was awarded for it,” Banario reminisced.
Ever since then, art has been Banario’s escape and his coping mechanism after his first defeat in mix martial arts last 2015. In 2017, Banario’s “Beauty and the Beast” work featuring himself and Emma Watson captured the heart of his fans.
Team Lakay head coach Mark Sangiao left the creation of the mural fully in Banario’s hand; and the latter did not disappoint him.
“Initially, the concept was Coach Mark’s Idea. I just added and altered the composition since I always want movement in my artworks. I don’t like stagnant or no movement at all in my works,” said Banario.
“All of my paintings are allegorical paintings or symbolism, and it’s more on human figures and drama.”
Longest reigning BRAVE CF bantamweight champion Stephen Loman also commended his compatriot’s work. Loman was also featured in the mural.
“It’s not yet done, but you can already see that he has made a great deal of effort on this artwork. It’s beautiful,” exclaimed Loman.
For Banario it was only a way of paying back to what the stable has presented towards his development as an athlete and individual.
“They’re family to me. It’s almost a decade since I joined them and they helped me a lot in many ways, morally and ideologically. They mean to me so much,” said Banario.
The official unveiling of the mural was supposed to take place during Baguio’s “Ibagiw” 2020 Creative City Festival last November but was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Follow the writer on Twitter: @burnsports