One of the paintings inside the museum that caught my interest was this, a portrait signifying a social cancer. Understanding the visual appearance of it, I think the small pieces of wood represent the land or the ground; and the wider three pieces above those is the horizon. Above the ground, we can see a bump with something inside of it. That bump I think represents a growing cancer in our society, as said by Jose Rizal. The social cancer is because of people from Rizal’s time who let themselves to have been taken advantage of by the others. The portrait of Social Cancer represents that the society can die if we continue not recognizing our own identity as Filipinos. It could also tell that everything that we do wrong, from not being a disciplined individual to committing something bad to other people, contribute to the growing cancer that could eventually kill the society.
This painting by Edgar Doctor shows vague images of a man with someone beside him in the left. When I saw the title “Guardian of the Soil,” I was thinking that the man is a farmer and the one he is kind of like holding is his carabao. However, farmers are not supposedly guarding soil but a farm. I think this painting tells people that farmers are having a hard time finding funds for their crops and that instead they should guard a farm, they are guarding soil. They are the one producing food for us but they are also the people ending up with a little left in their pockets. In our country, one of the main means of livelihood of people especially in the provinces is agriculture or farming. However, they usually get a little left after harvest because they have to pay everything they used in the course of their farming. So I think this painting sends message to people that even farmers belong in the biggest industry of our country, they still live poor.
I find this painting very hard to understand at first because it is just black. However, if I’m getting it right, there are sort of sperms in the upper right side of the portrait, as well the dots visible randomly in the middle. So if there are sperms being shown, I think this painting depicts that there are sperms inside of a woman. Drawing from the title itself, “Character in Black,” the joining of a sperm cell and an egg cell conceives a life. It is a character in black because people still don’t know that a life could possibly begin inside. And once it joins, or when a man and woman find out, they have to wait for some time to finally see the face of the child. At the end, I think the title Character in Black suggests the how vagueness or uncertainty of the image of a child not yet being born, and that people always try to imagine how a child would look like once he gets born.
This painting was made with acrylic on canvas in 1977 by a National Artist for Visual Arts. I think Ethereal Aura shows a side-view of a woman. Ethereal means something spiritual or ghostly. From the time I saw this painting in front of me, I think it just depicts any other woman on our time who has her own mind and principles. We individually develop our own auras and show it from the way we interact with other people. It is because of the ethereal aura why there are women who stand empowered.
Portraits of Maria Clara will always show how traditional Filipina looked like in the past. Maria Clara is a modest-looking woman, does everything what her parents and society told her to do so. Maria Clara is considered as a historical figure of a Filipina, living during the times of colonization of Spaniards. However, it was in the time of Maria Clara where women are not empowered. Women are not allowed to vote or even to go in schools. Women from this time were victims of patriarch society of Spaniards. So though portraits of Maria Clara show how lovely Filipinas were, it just reminds the present generation how lucky we are not being in her time where women have no equal rights with men.
It is a tradition of Filipino families to pray before having meals together. Christianity has one of the biggest influences in our lives as Filipinos since we are young. This painting would remind us that we express our gratitude of having food and being together through prayers. My family does not regularly eat together because we have different schedules. However when we are eating together, we do not practice praying before meals. Like our family, it is sad that there are more families now who forgot this Filipino tradition. This painting will remind people to stop first, to be thankful for what we have, and not to let a family tradition die.
This painting portrays a woman and a man, wearing white and orange respectively. The animated couple shows that they are wearing beautiful dresses and accessories which we can infer to have Filipino designs. I think the painting It Started in Eden tells the change of how people dress in a modern way from wearing nothing at the start. It may further tell us how people learn to creatively develop their own styles of clothing through the years. If Adam and Eve did not eat the forbidden fruit, we will not be having beautiful dresses and accessories like those wearing by the couple. It tells us that what we are wearing today is a product of what happened in Eden.
The last painting I will show is a portrait of a carabao by Vicente Manansala. Eyes are looking straight and sad. Like the painting of Edgar Doctor above that tells how hard a farmer’s life is, this painting I think shows us the sadness of a carabao because of the same reason. I felt sad as well when I looked on this portrait personally. This painting could make us think that the people and animals like carabao who are behind what we are eating are working hard for a living but still gets not enough.
This is my National Museum Visit 02/13/2017
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