Artist Lean Reboja gives viewers a peek at monsters and critters in second solo show for 2024

Lean Reboja is a man with a mission: to mount three solo exhibitions this year.

With “Strong Orbits,” his second show held in May at Gallery Sort Of, he is well on his way to ticking all three boxes before the year ends.

All three exhibits are encapsulated within Reboja’s “Leanderthal on Tour” gig—with “Leanderthal” as Reboja’s moniker—and his goal is to showcase his virtuosity, as well as the ideas that have been percolating in his vision board in disparate venues.

Kicking off with “Glorious Cycles,” his monochromatic opening act at Studio 201 in the beach town of Argao, Cebu, Reboja gave fans a taste of post-pandemic musings melded with an array of technically astute black and stark white illustrations.


The successful launch saw Reboja feted by the local press, with such praises as “the show’s pieces exemplified how attuned visual art’s propensity to tell a story can be, done by way of comics-inspired illustrations that are rife with visual metaphors and symbolism,” and “Glorious Cycles did well in framing how Lean has grown as a creative dauber and street/graffiti artist,” by Taniguchi in The Freeman, May 9.

With the initial salvo a resounding success, Lean then poured all the colors that were missing from “Glorious Cycles” into “Strong Orbits.” A distinctly noticeable penchant for black, however, still predominates the 31-piece collection. 

Deftly traversing both paper and canvas, and deploying both acrylic and ink onto his oeuvre, Lean showcases his technical prowess in this exhibition. That includes, of course, how he crafts his trademark adorable monstrosities, as well as his Wild Child progeny.   

Initially known for packed compositions that pay scant heed to the concept of negative space, Lean is comfortable departing from this signature style, and he offers 18 petite frames, each focusing on a single fantastic being.

These frames are presented as single portraits, like snapshots from a photo booth located in purgatory, and then curated as one fantastic gallery of humanoids. The result is a visually arresting collection of Wild Child denizens that might be a sin to eventually break up, given their ultimate integrity, and how imposing the collection is as a collective look.

Lean’s art is a collection of snippets from his daily life, hand-picked encounters, and experiences that are intertwined with his fears and nightmares. These ingredients are all poured into a canvas and flash-frozen, then laid bare before a watchful audience. There is plenty of feverish detail that, despite the macabre composition, enthralls and delights.

The visual artist based in Lapu-lapu City proves, once again, that talent isn’t exclusive in the capital, and that within our far-flung isles may be found wildly creative founts. Born in Davao, Lean holds a degree in Fine Arts from the University of the Philippines-Cebu, where he learned to, admittedly, not-so-smoothly transition from drawing to actual painting.

Team Up

Local exhibitions then unfolded for the talented artist, and pretty soon the capital beckoned. With successful group, duo, and solo shows under his belt at such spaces as Modeka, Space Encounters, Vinyl on Vinyl, and Gallery Sort Of, and successive launches of his popular collectible sculptures, Lean has made an impressive mark on the art scene—and will continue to do so, as long as he keeps true to his craft.

Who would have thought that monsters and critters would enrich our aesthetic universe—but Lean Reboja accomplishes just that. And Strong Orbits is proof.

Gallery Sort Of is located at 37 Camaro St, Novaliches, Quezon City. For more information, follow the gallery’s Instagram page.

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