Comrade Parts Bagani: the people's artist who has shown us how to lead an attack in art and armed revolution

“A poet should know how to lead an attack” was among the great Vietnamese communist leader Ho Chi Minh’s famous quotations, and this fittingly epitomizes Comrade Parts Bagani – people’s artist and guerrilla warrior, who used his gun and paint brushes to lead an attack, literally and figuratively.

Like many other outstanding comrades in the armed revolutionary movement, both living and fallen, Comrade Jhon Niebres Peñaranda, popularly known by his nom de guerre Parts Bagani, is almost a legend among activists, revolutionaries and even art critics, for his exceptional paintings and visuals mirroring the actual struggle in which he, the people’s army and the lumad communities were immersed.

His strokes are distinct and easily detectable particularly among activists and fellow revolutionaries who find in his artistic drawings revolutionary inspiration and determination to achieve victory and march towards building a socialist future.

But he was primarily a people’s warrior, a revolutionary guerrilla of the New People’s Army. In paying trubute to him, the CPP said in a statement: Ka Parts was primarily a fighter and a military cadre of the NPA. He had rich experiences in war, from advances and retreats, from leading tactical offensives and studying the art of warfare. He knitted his brows to come up with plans to further raise the capability of the NPA and Red fighters in waging armed struggle.

Rigoberto Sanchez, spokesperson of the Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command of the NPA, said Comrade Parts helped plan and execute several successful tactical offensives. He created excellent maps, sandboxes and materials for war games during preparations for these military actions. He was an excellent instructor during politico-military trainings of Red fighters and gave incisive assessments during military conferences of the regional operations command.

The National Executive Committee of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, together with the NDFP Negotiating Panel, the NDFP International Information Office, and NDFP leaders and members abroad express their highest tribute to Comrade Parts Bagani; and likewise condemn in the strongest possible terms his brutal and treacherous killing in gross violation of the Geneva Conventions and International Humanitarian Law, which the armed forces of the Duterte fascist regime habitually disregard. We exalt the martyrdom of Comrade PartsBagani as we are enraged by the manner of his death. We are privileged to have been gifted by Comrade Parts Bagani with a huge oil painting of the Mindanao mountains with the profiles of Mao, Lenin and Marx at the top left corner and NPA fighters at the lower right corner and with a smaller oil painting inspired by the poem “The Guerrilla Is Like a Poet by Amado Guerrero, depicting a colorful forest in which an image of a peasant guerrilla is embedded. This latter painting has drawn so much attention, interest and amusement among compatriots and friends of the NDFP as they are challenged to look intently and find where exactly is the peasant guerrilla embedded in the painting. He has also donated to us personally several handmade cups and carvings.

His paintings and other works of art constantly inspire us to pursue the people’s democratic revolution through protracted people’s war, conducted mainly in the countryside by the peasants and the people’s army. We are reminded of how the armed revolution led by the Communist Party of the Philippines and carried out by New People’s Army has continued to produce artists, poets, singers and composers, among others, among the ranks of its peasant and worker guerrillas.

Comrade Parts Bagani: the people's artist who has shown us how to lead an attack in art and armed revolution