Entry 108

Sculpture 13: Scientia or The  Triumph of Science over Death

In 1890, Jose Rizal sent two statuettes to his friend Ferdinand Blumentritt, an Austrian scholar. These hand-crafted sculptures were made of clay. One of the statuettes was Scientia or The Triumph of Science over Death.

It is figure is of a nude, young woman holding a torch with both stretched hands. At her feet is a large skull from which she stands. Her long hair covers her lower privates.

The clay statuette is now in Fort Santiago in Intramuros. However, a monumental copy made of concrete guards the Calderón Hall (College of Medicine) in the University of the Philippines Manila. I am not familiar of its artist but it has nuances from the original statuette. For one, the countenance is not identical, however all the elements and symbols are present.

Below is a composite of images of the sculpture.

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Entry 102

SiningSaysay

Last year I visited the SiningSaysay exhibit at the Gateway Tower. For more information about this, you can visit here.

In a nutshell, the exhibit showcases Philippine history visually and artistically. It is an interpretation of our national historiography showing not only events but also cultures, beliefs, and scholarly discoveries that in many ways help define the Filipino.

Below are some of the paintings that I like. I suggest you visit the exhibit, too, at the 5th floor of Gateway Tower in Cubao, Quezon City. Each painting is 6 feet by 12 feet large. (I had to crop the images to exclude the bollards.)

by Junyee

 

by Simkin de Pio

 

by Gig de Pio

by Gig de Pio

by Gig de Pio

by Gig de Pio

 

by Randy Solon

by Randy Solon

by Abdulmari Asia Imao

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Entry 098

Sculpture 11: La Madre Filipina Sculptures

In prewar Jones Bridge, a pair of ornate pillars guarded its ends. Atop them perched literally motherly figures. After the Pacific War, the sculptures were relocated to different places. Unfortunately or fortunately, only three of these sculptures are extant.

Arguably the most popular and conspicuous is the one in Rizal Park. When I learned that there used to be four figures of the La Madre Filipina, I became interested in looking for the other three.

The one in Rizal Park is whitewashed and is located at the right side corridor if you stand in front of the Rizal Monument. The other two proudly greet anyone on the steps of the Court of Appeals in Ma. Orosa Street in Ermita district of Manila, and are painted bronze.

The last one, unfortunately, is feared destroyed or maybe lying at the Pasig riverbed.

La Madre at the Luneta

In this blog post, I fondly call this “La Madre 1”. The statue shows a seated mother holding a girl by her shoulder and allaying a weeping man on his knees.

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Las Madres at the Court of Appeals

The “La Madre 2” is at the right side (to the left of an observer) of the Court of Appeals. Here, the seated mother holds a torch. To her right is a boy holding an orb or something like a sphere; to her left is a man seated on the floor, holding a hammer, and looks languished.

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Entry 091

Oblasyong Dumidingas: Oblation Flaring Up

A month before capping the year 2015, UP Diliman’s Oblation was made resembling a flaring torch, effectively illuminating a darkened scape.

The art installation, with the Oblation as the centrepiece, was the work of the prolific artist Toym Imao. Known for his large and intricate mixed media pieces of brass, bronze and wood, Imao employed this time resin, cellophane, bamboo, and ample illumination.

The conceptual design is explained by this note (in Filipino):

Mula sa temang Dingas: Adhikaing Diliman, Adhikaing Bayan, gumamit si Toym Imao ng apat na simbolo–ang Oblation bilang sulo, tatlong tore sa Bulwagang Quezon na animo’y mga parola o lighthouse, mga dingas sa Oblation Plaza na parang layag, at mga punong naaaninagan ng mga matingkad na pulang ilaw sa paligid ng Bulwagang Quezon na parang mga punong kabalyero o fire trees. Ang lahat ng mga ito’y simbolong pagpapakahulugan sa unibersidad bilang dingas ng mga kaisipan, gabay sa pagkilos, at liwanag ng paglilingkod na siyang humuhubog at nagpapaalab ng damdaming makabayan ng mga mag-aaral, guro, at kawani.

Four concepts symbolize the university as a source of light: burning torch, lighthouse, open flame, and fire tree. The Oblation serves part of the burning torch, the three pillars behind it are reminiscent of lighthouses, little white flames surround the area, and red spotlights illuminate some trees to resemble fire trees.

Here are the images.

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The Oblation engulfed in stylized flames.

 

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It stands on a torch-like rim.

 

 

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These flame-like shapes are made of resin; they also look like tear drops.

 

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Behind the centrepiece torch are the three pillars that symbolize lighthouses.

 

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Here is a view of the installation with all the four symbolisms present.

 

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Toym Imao is the artist and overall designer of the installation.

 

You can read more about this artwork here.

Entry 089

Sculpture 10: Art Depictions of Andres Bonifacio

This post is a compilation of figures of the great Philippine bayani (I prefer to use this term rather than the foreign concept of hero) Andres Bonifacio. I consider him a unifier of the “Filipinos” against foreign oppression, a catalyst for a defined national consciousness through revolution and arms, and an unfortunate victim of politicking and betrayal.

Today, 30 November, we are commemorating his birth. So much misconceptions surround his very figure and identity. It is up to the historians to unravel the obscured Bonifacio and put him to a better esteem by a new generation of Filipinos.

Arguably the most popular of the Bonifacio figures is this one by Guillermo Tolentino

Arguably the most popular of the Bonifacio figures is this one by Guillermo Tolentino in Kalookan

 

Guillermo Tolentino's Bonifacio at the Liwasang Bonifacio in front of the Post Office

Another Guillermo Tolentino’s work at the Liwasang Bonifacio in front of the Manila Central Post Office

 

A detail of the figure

A detail of the figure

 

Another work by Guillermo Tolentino; this bust is housed at the National Museum

Another work by Guillermo Tolentino; this bust is housed at the National Museum

 

Florentino Caedo's Bonifacio bust at the LRT Central Station terminal

Florentino Caedo’s Bonifacio bust at the LRT Central Station terminal

 

Close up of the bust

Close up of the bust

 

Eduardo Castrillo's metal relief at the Bonifacio Shrine between the Manila City Hall and Mehan Garden; here, he is brandishing a gulok and exposing his cut arm from a blood compact ritual

Eduardo Castrillo’s metal relief at the Bonifacio Shrine between the Manila City Hall and Mehan Garden; here, he is brandishing a gulok and exposing his cut arm from a blood compact ritual

 

Napoleon Abueva's Bonifacio at Balintawak; this is based from Ramon Martinez's iconic Homenaje del pueblo filipino a los heroes del 96 that many have mistaken to be Bonifacio

Napoleon Abueva’s Bonifacio at the Balintawak Cloverleaf Exit; this is based from Ramon Martinez’s iconic Homenaje del pueblo filipino a los heroes del 96 that many have mistaken to be Bonifacio

 

Detail of a painting by Romy Mananquil showing Bonifacio among other figures of the struggle against the Spanish; exhibited at a gallery in Gateway, Cubao

Detail of a painting by Romy Mananquil showing Bonifacio among other figures of the struggle against the Spanish; exhibited at a gallery in Gateway, Cubao

 

Here is good read about the iconization of Bonifacio, as presented by the Presidential Museum and Library.

(All images included in this post are mine.)

Entry 087

Sculpture 09: Quezon Memorial Shrine Pylons

One cannot miss the memorial shrine rising above the greenery and government institutions along Elliptical Road in Quezon City. The shrine, designed by architect Federico Ilustre, houses the mausoleum of President Manuel L. Quezon’s remains. The city, after all, is his namesake. The shrine extends upward to include three pylons which are adorned by three giant sculptures of women.

These women are fashioned with wings, leading many to regard them as angels. The figures, which is of the art deco style (I am not an expert on this), wear traditional Filipino garments and hold sampagita (jasmine) wreaths.  They represent the archipelagic clusters of Luzón, Bisayà and Mindanáw. Their faces are well-chiseled and the hems of their garments sharply angled.

These gigantic monuments were sculpted by Francesco Riccardo Monti, an Italian artist who resided in the country for three decades in the mid 1900s producing several works. He has notable works at the University of Santo Tomas, Far Eastern University, Metropolitan Theatre, Negros Occidental capitol lagoon, old Iloilo City Hall (now the Iloilo campus of the University of the Philippines in the Visayas), Sto. Domingo Church, among others.

Below are images of his work at the Quezon Memorial Shrine.

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The artistic personification of Bisayà (centre), Mindanáw (left), and Luzón (right)

 

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The winged figure of Bisayà wears a terno with an alampay

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The winged figure of Mindanáw wears a sablay

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The winged figure of Luzón wears a dress with a panyuwelo (pañuelo)

Can you now guess which figure represents whom (or what)?

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Entry 084

Sculpture 08: Alaala ng Bayang Filipino sa mga Bayani ng (18)96
and Bonifacio Monument in Balintawák

This monument generated art and historical misconceptions is the “Homenaje del pueblo filipino a los héroes del 96” (Alaala ng Bayang Filipino sa mga Bayani ng 96). This was crafted by Ramon Martinez out of concrete, installed on 27 August 1911, and was unveiled on 3 September 1911 at Balintawák (then part of Kalookan, now a part of Quezon City). This even predated the Rizal Monument (Motto stella) by two years.

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This statue was polychromed at different times. Once it was painted grayish blue (shirt) and red (trousers).

The statue is a homage to the katipunero revolutionaries of the Philippine Revolution that started in 1896. It is known for its many names:

  • Monumento sa mga Bayani ng 1986
  • Bantayog ng Sigaw ng Pugad Lawin
  • El Grito de Balintawák (grito means “shout, scream or cry”)

The question of the location of the “cry” where Bonifacio called the members of the Katipunan to arms is left to the historians—Balintawák, Pugad Lawin, Gulod, among others.

Historian Ambeth Ocampo suggested in a lecture in 1997 that the event be called “Cry of Kalookan” for “it was not one but a series of events which saw the Katipuneros moving from one place to another towards the end of August 1896 in Balintawak or better still, [Kalookan]”. Honoring Kalookan instead would put to rest the dispute of precedence among the locations in contention. There were many “cries”, as Ocampo suggested. (This makes more sense, actually.)

Anyway, the topic of this post is the monument itself. It is a figure of a bare chest young man wearing a barò and folded trousers and is barefoot. He is in an apparent outcry, holding a gúlok on his right hand and a battle standard on his left. A holster is tied to his waist.

Many mistakenly took this icon for Andres Bonifacio, the leader of the Katipunan. But it was not him.

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Ocampo mentioned in a book that the figure was based on the 14 July 1911 cover of the newsmagazine Renacimiento Filipino and was sketched by Jorge Pineda.

On 29 November 1968, the statue was transferred to Vinzons Hall, the student center of the University of the Philippines Diliman, because of the the construction of the Manila North Diversion Road (North Luzon Expressway today).

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