Freelance Artist and Activist
September 21, 1993 – January 13, 2022
James Lozano Gacita, also known as Jams Gacito or Dyams, was a Filipino freelance artist who worked with various organizations to help ease the lives of those in need.
Born in Mandaluyong City, Gacita completed a BS Psychology degree.
He was led to Christianity after his father suffered a stroke. He thereafter became part of Bukang Liwayway, an organization with a mission of serving the poor, and was part of this organization for eight years. He also volunteered and took part in other organizations and various movements, such as the “Food Not Bombs” movement for emergency relief programs.
As an artist, Gacita made a role for himself in various collectives and organizations by becoming part of their production and action teams. As a member of the 350 Pilipinas organization for almost four years, he contributed by participating in their activities and developments in their office. He created office murals depicting the organization’s values and made DIY porcelain pins that they gave to their volunteers and partner organizations as year-end gifts.
The 350 Pilipinas is an organization that fights against climate change and brings together diverse groups of people to call out the government and major industries that have continuously done harm to the environment. Gacita’s first involvement in climate activism was in March 2019, when he participated in the Global Climate Strike in Quezon City. This was followed by his participation in the Earth Hour teach-in and vigil. Gacita later did community work in Leyte before returning to Manila, where he continued his mission of service despite the onset of the pandemic.
In 2020, Gacita was involved in the production of the #SONAGkaisa umbrella mobilization. He hand-painted the words ‘We resist as one planet’ on the umbrellas. He was also part of the production team for the Environmental Defenders mobile art exhibit staged by the Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment, Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines, Center for Environmental Concerns, and SAKA (Artist Alliance for Genuine Land Reform and Rural Development).
Gacita was also a volunteer for typhoon recovery, aiding Dumagat communities in Rizal where he helped build portable solar Tekpaks. He also engineered modular stands to be used in outdoor protest actions. These stands were used by the Commission on Human Rights at the Climate Rally of November 2021.
Outside of his volunteer work, Gacita created edgy and vibrant designs for local skate shop Skate Tarius.
He was only 28 when he passed away due to a cranial hemorrhage.
In a Facebook tribute post, Gacita’s friend SaVillaroza talked of the patience and time that Gacita had given her and her family. “Ang laki ng impluwensiya mo,” she wrote, recounting the times Gacita lent a helping hand and ear to members of her family. Of her own experiences with Gacita, she said, “Feeling ko anak na kita.” At the end she wrote: “Ihahayag namin lagi ang iyong kabutihan.”
Though Gacita was not someone who could offer abundant financial help to others, what he did offer was his time and his warm presence. Even in his last year, his gentle nature was displayed when he took part in the art of ‘bendanismo,’ an art form that uses bandages (benda) as symbolism. The term also carries the deeper nuance of ‘paghilom’ (healing), a concept that Gacita believed in.
Gacita’s existence can be likened to the art form he had taken up, having been someone who was an instrument of healing by helping those in need.