IA# 4 Museum Visit 1

This was the first time I visited National Museum with my friends. We were really excited about it when our professor tasked us to visit the museum. The following are the 8 artworks that captured my attention :

Spoliarium by Juan Luna, Oil on canvas

In this painting we could see people pulling the bloody bodies of gladiators from the arena after the entertainment of their oppressors which I suppose to be Romans. For me, I think the message that the painting is trying to convey is that the inequality, injustice, moral and political life in our society in the 19th century. We could represent the Filipino slaves as the gladiators, and the Romans as the Spaniards. Us, Filipinos being maltreated by our colonizers, the way they abuse our country is also they way they abused our people; Filipinos struggle in the reign of Spaniards. Multiple deaths were also present that time, which in the painting represents many dead bodies. Another thing is that this could also be a picture of our present society wherein numerous deaths are the headlines of the news, because of the new administration; their means of solving the drug addiction in our country.

Bataan Death Marcher by Gene Cabrera, Metal and wood

From the sculpture, we could observe the figure of a death skull, in a military helmet. When I first saw this sculpture, I remembered the tragedy brought by the Japanese during the World War II here in the Philippines. Among the colonizers in of country, Japanese for me were the most brutal. As for the title of the sculpture, Bataan Death Marcher, Death March was a forced march of prisoners of war and other captives that the Japanese were intent to kill, brutalize, weaken and demoralize along the way of the march. People marched from Mariveles Bataan to Camp O’Donnel in Capas Tarlac. From what I’ve described the sculpture, a figure of skull in a helmet. We could infer that the march was harsh and the result was death of the Filipinos and American troops. This sculpture serves as symbol of an historical event in our country which reminds us the bravery of our fellow Filipinos who died fighting against the brutality of Japanese.

Planting of the First Cross by Vicente Silva Manansala, Oil on canvas

The painting shows the one of the important historical event that happened in our country which was the time when the Spaniards went in the Philippines. It implies the start of Christianity and Catholicism in our country. From the painting, we could see that they planted the first cross in Cebu, as I recall, it is were Magellan and the his spanish soldiers first arrived. Native people were there to observe the spaniards. But as I observe the painting, the facial expression of the native people with the tattoos (also known as the Pintados), we could see some of them are curious, and most of them quite angry about it as I have noticed on the formation of folds on the foreheads of the native people. This I think for me, was the turning point where in native people began fighting against the spaniards because the colonizers were trying to change or converting our country into a different religion and way of life.

Harana by Vicente Silva Manansala, Oil on canvas mounted on wood

This artwork is a product of modernization and a glimpse from the past. The reason why I said that because the painting is in the form of abstract, the painter used different shapes in forming the picture. As for the glimpse from the past, we could see that three men are holding different kinds of string instruments. This implies that from the title, Harana, meaning singing or playing music as one of the way of courting your love one. The painting of Vicente Manansala shows that Harana was one of the traditions of Filipinos from the past. Nowadays, Harana is not a trend in our society. People call it “corny” these days because now they just do courting virtually; but from the past it was very romantic. However, for me I still find it romantic and original because you sing and play passionately to your love one. Lastly, the painting Harana can serve as a reminder of the traditional way of courting people and we should be proud of it.

Pag-Unlad ng Pangggagamot sa Pilipinas by Carlos V. Francisco

These are series of painting that shows the development of medicine or the way we treat diseases in our country. As for the first painting, we could see the traditional way of medicine, we call it “pagtatawas” by the “albularyos”, usually these are common in the provinces. They make use of the organic ingredients such as medicinal leaves and some of them make use of the candles, water and they pray for the evil spirit to vanish. Back then, our ancestors believes that people get sick because they are being possessed by evil spirit or demons. As we take a look at the succeeding paintings, we could see the medicines are evolving because of the technological advancement. Like these days, people make use of new ways such as surgeries and technologies as well as certain chemical in treating people. However, as I have observed whenever I travel to our province and watch certain documentary in the Philippines, some people still make use of the traditional way of curing people, which is the “Pagtatawas”.

Third World by Papo De Asis, Oil on canvas

This artwork was made in the year 1981, which was the year where Marcos was in reign. Observing the painting, there is a man evilly smiling and holding a lot of money above the people. If we take look closely at the facial expression of the people below, we could see that they are struggling together. This implies that the reign of Marcoses during that period was harsh, there was corruption and people were in burden. Reviewing our history, brutality, inequality and injustice were common that time, as other people say it is because of the abusive authority of the previous dictator, Ferdinand Marcos. Philippines that time is a third world country, meaning a developing country. President Marcos did things that developed our country such as various establishments were built for public use. However, he was accused of stealing money from its people which is also shown in the painting, the man above showing greediness in power. This painting also implies that even our countrymen could be our enemy that can lead to chaos. For that, unity is among us is not preserved, which one of the reason why Philippines’s progress in slow and still a third world country.

Liberty Granting Independence to Filipinas by Guillermo E. Tolentino, Pencil on paper

As for what I have observed on the artwork, it has symbolisms. First the woman on the left side symbolizes liberty, the flag that the liberty woman is passing on the woman is the independence, and lastly the woman on the right side is our country the Philippines. I think this artwork was made during the era where the Philippines won the war against the Americans. We can depict from the artwork that our country meets the freedom that we are striving for a long time. When i saw this drawing, I felt in peace, looking at the faces of the women, smiling, I thought of our country being freed from the chains we have been from the past years, now living as we are. I also thought of the message that liberty (the woman on the left) saying that we should take good care of the independent that is grant unto us. However, this message is not being applied these days because some of the leaders of our country have immaturities that have caused corruption and various issues in the society which eventually lead to destruction of unity, and people only thought of their self-interest.

Kiss of Judas by Napoleon Veloso Abueva, Oak

The first time that I saw this sculpture, I thought of a liberated expression of love in the society nowadays. However when i looked closely, the male figure on the left side, as a blank expression, then i saw the title of the sculpture “Kiss of Judas”. My first thought of the sculptured changed then suddenly I remembered the Passion of Christ. The man facing in front with a blank expression, symbolizes Jesus and the man who is kissing the cheek of another man in Judas. For me, that was the message of the sculpture that is trying to convey is the betrayal of Judas Iscariot to Jesus Christ, and this reminds the people not all those who you meet along your way will stay by your side and be true to you in the end. The last message that this sculpture delivers is that we should be aware of the people we encounter everyday, because people change every now and then due to blinding bribes such as money, authority or power etc.

Me and my friends were planning to go back here at the National Museum because there were halls that are temporarily closed, and we weren’t able to visit the other building where the artifacts are exhibited. Also, I was planning to visit my grandfather Dr. Bong Dizon, he works at the National Museum in the Archaeology Department as a scientist.