The carabao is a water buffalo found in Southeast Asian countries, like the Philippines.
Among Filipinos, the carabao or kalabaw in Tagalog is more than just a working animal.
It has a special place in Filipino culture, symbolizing hard work and perseverance, traits that are dear to people of Philippine heritage.
That is why the carabao is the national animal of the Philippines. There is even a national government agency, the Philippine Carabao Center, that is dedicated to the protection of carabaos.
In Toronto, the carabao is depicted in a diversity mural that was unveiled on August 17, 2019 during the two-day celebration of Taste of Manila, a street festival.
The mural was painted by lead artist Nick Sweetman and team on the wall of the underpass on Bathurst Street and Wilson Avenue, which is in the area where the Taste of Manila is held annually.
The tarsier, a small primate found in the Philippines, is also depicted in the mural, along with other animals that represent other communities in the city.
The arts project was done under the auspices of StreetARToronto (StART), a city program designed specifically for streets and public spaces. The program aims to create vibrant and community-engaged street art.
Sweetman was recognized for his work at the Taste of Manila event by Toronto Councillor James Pasternak.