Joy Mallari presents us with a characteristically fantastical painting with The Guardian. The solitary figure of a young girl holds a sword pointing towards the image of a knight on an unfurled scroll, effectively inverting the relationship between savior and damsel. The knight is pinned to the ground by the girl in armor, implying that she holds both sword and power. Standing amidst a collection of representational objects, she assumes the posture of a guardian against a surreal landscape. The floating sun sits on top of her hand, and surrounding her are myriads of rainbow-colored orbs raining on the night pasture scene. Presiding over knowledge as depicted by the stack of books, and flanked by her protectors of the white tiger and hawk at her feet, Mallari draws on the traditional deployment of iconography to construct her own mythology.