IA#4: Museum Visit 1

Before I met AESTHET I wasn’t a fan of going to museums. I told myself I wouldn’t be caught dead going to such dull places. I found it hard to appreciate art and get or bring light to what it wants to impart. But that’s in the past since AESTHET already taught me how. National museum is just a ride away from my place, but I never had the time and will to visit it until AESTHET came into the picture. February 9th 2017 marks the first time I set foot in the national museum. Some masterpieces made me scratch my noggin, some made my jaw dropped, others made me just pass them by, some lured me that I have to look at every detail of it and provoked the guard to say “Five meters away po tayo, wag masyado malapit.” Here are just few of the national treasures that aroused my interest.

KALABAW | VICENTE SILVA MANASALA | 1979

Looking at this artwork, I guess it portrays how laborious and zealous Filipinos are. The artist associated these attributes of Filipinos, especially the farmers, to a carabao (in tagalog kalabaw: the name of the artwork and the national animal of the Philippines). An image that is not obvious on this artwork that I see is an image of a man. Vicente Manansala might deliberately made it that way — to make a man and a carabao as one, to impart a message that Filipinos are innately industrious, that carabao or farming defines the humble life of Filipinos, that this message supports the fact that this animal is our national animal, not just because it’s prevalent in the provinces but it defines our nation, it defines us.

OLD MAN AND A BOY| ISABELO TAMPINCO y LACANDOLA | UNDATED

This artwork made by Isabelo Lacandola that depicts how sympathetic and kind Filipinos are. I do still remember a test item in the subject values education back in grade school that interprets this artwork; Ano ang gagawin mo pag nakakita ka ng isang matanda na tumatawid sa daan? The answer and choices to that question is ridiculously easy. This art, and the one preceding this photo, give me pride of being a Filipino, who’s inner beauty outshines other race. The benevolence we show to and will to help our kapwa is always present in our actions, always.

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE LIBERAL DEMOCRATS | PABLO BAENS SANTOS | 1986

Who really won the Snap Election? (Please don’t ask me.) Ask Vicente Manansala, this artwork of his will confidently give you an answer. Filled with joy and feeling of freedom that they’ve been craving for a very long time, Filipinos in this artwork are evidently excited to savor the drastic change in the administration, hoping that Corazon Aquino will serve them a delicate meal of justice, equality, and one that respects human rights. Drawing from this artwork, people at the year 1986 are like beggar turned billionaire, or newly freed prisoner who’s mistakenly convicted. Vicente Manansala preserved that feeling in a piece of paper where anyone who’ll witness it will feel the same way, whether they’re alive or not during Marcos’ regime.

PADRE FRANCISCO PALIOLA S.J. | AN UNKNOWN ARTIST | Mid to Late 19th CENTURY

Going to National Museum made me learn the name of the priest that I am very much scared of when I was a kid. “ Ayan na yung paring pugot yung ulo tapos bitbit nya habang naglalakad.” But i was disappointed when I consulted Mr. Google about this — that that ghost doesn’t exist and is just a product of man’s vast imagination while this picture portrays a real man who really lived. Maybe that unknown artist behind this artwork wants to throw a message to anyone who’ll see his work that Padre Francisco Palliola S.J. lived as a faithful Christian, and died still being one. For me it’s message is about the martyrdom and faith of Padre Palliola.

SAN PABLO el ERMITANIO | JOSE RIZAL| 1893

If I am to give a name of a person whose talent in literary arts is remarkable, that’s going to be, my name. Kidding. It’s going to be Jose Protacio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda, of course. To my surprise, he also can do sculpturing. When I saw the label of this sculpture I did a double take and I nearly jumped out of my skin to learn that it is indeed made by Rizal. San Pablo el Ermitanio is dedicated to Fr. Pablo Pastells, S.J. Perhaps, this gift signifies how Jose Rizal knows San Pablo and shares the same sentiment, of loneliness and solitude, with the first hermit when he was exiled at Dapitan where he made this sculpture.

ROUNDEL RELIEF PORTRAIT BUST OF Dr. JOSE RIZAL | ISABELO TAMPINCO y LACANDOLA | 1910

Rizal can do almost anything. His acclaimed novels inspired the Katipuneros and watered the seed of Himagsikan that brought freedom for the Filipinos, he’s an ophthalmic surgeon (her mother was her first patient), he’s fluent in multiple languages, and also a sculptor. Just name anything and he can do it. This features of Rizal might inspired the artist, Isabelo Lacandola to make a bust of his and show to anyone who could see this to remember his works, his legacy.

ABSTRACT ARTS OF JOSE T. JOYA

Arts are like girls, they are so hard to understand. Given this fact, there’s still artists who are just adding insult to the injury, they like making people to take it up a notch just to understand their works. Who are they? Those who make abstract arts. So, going to National Museum gave me the chance to encounter, not an abstract artist, but an abstract made by a national artist. The pictures are so ahhmm., maybe it do, yeah. Ughh It’s hard to explain an abstract art. But I guess these artworks represent the complexity of life (okay, I tried).

BUST OF JUAN LUNA y NOVICIO | ANASTACIO T. CEDO | 1979

If naming Filipino painters would be a homework, Juan Luna would be on any student’s paper. This artwork is as real as the air I held as I scrutinize and stared at this bust. Maybe Anastacio Cedo idolizes Juan Luna and put a lot of time and effort to make this “realistic” bust. He probably want to honor the greatest Filipino painter who ever lived, the artist who made the painting that warmly welcomes the visitors of National Museum, the Spolarium(the painting’s not just spolarium, it’s SPOLARIUM because it’s seriously huge) that created a great impact to Filipinos then and now.

Who would’ve thought that I will enjoy interacting with arts. Those artworks are made by critically acclaimed artists, and national artists like Manansala and Jose T. Joya to name a few. National museum is indeed the chamber of national treasures where wonders will never cease.