Of Strokes, Figs and Canvases

Dec. 17, 2005

Even the uninitiated can tell if a work of art was done by someone from Mindanao or who has been influenced by the island’s peoples, culture and the strife. You can sense this in the strokes, in the medium, in the subjects.

In this issue of davaotoday.com, five visual artists who all hailed from Mindanao share their passion for the arts and for Mindanao. Some of them are fresh out of college while others have been around since the 70s. Through their craft and their vision of the people, of nature, of revolution, to name a few — they depict not only their world but ours.

Rodney Yap

“I saw women in despair, bullet proof-vested, inside homes and outside, insecure, because they are caught in the crossfire,” says Yap, a graduate of Davao City’s Ford Academy of the Arts. The painting that shows a woman carrying an umbrella earned him a semi-finalist award in this year’s Metrobank young painters competition. (View Yaps work.)

Ronald “Pinx” Gaspe
Now in his early 40s, Gaspe is a freelance artist. A member of Lakbay Diwa artist group, he has been around, providing creative services to nongovernment organizations. He had mounted art exhibits with the now defunct Kulturang Atin Foundation Inc. and is the first artist from Mindanao to have visually depicted the life and times of persons with HIV/AIDS, in a project he did with the Talikala Foundation. (View Gaspes work.)

Jaime Ang
Sculpting to painting are Ang’s creative inclinations. He teaches art at the Ford Academy of the Arts. In his mixed media art, he says, “nature comes from a single source: the ever-burning, all consuming fire of life — this is my credo, my firm belief. Its aura pulsates through the vast and infinite web of life: it surges through space and time and shatters myths and conventions.” (View Angs work.)

Ruben de Vera
From the 70s up to now, Ruben de Vera has been around in the art circles. He depicts the troubled times in the dark years of martial law and, at the same time, gave us a glimpse of the beauty of the Davao Eagle. (View de Veras work.)

The works of Bagani, mostly pen and ink and acrylic, blend with the people in the Mindanao mountains. His can be called “revolutionary art.” Alice Guillermo, a noted art critic and professor of the University of the Philippines, once wrote of this artist: Bagani is a revolutionary artist who makes his work in the midst of struggle, in a countryside in arms. This explains his works’ authenticity of detail, their persuasiveness and immediate presence.”

The work of Bagani, Guillermo continued, is linked to the interests of particular social classes and groups which hold conflicting positions. (View Baganis work.) (davaotoday.com)

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