In this age of Instagram and Twitter, quick short bites of communiqué are the norm. It can be a statement of fact or the start of a meaningful discussion. SININGSAYSAY: Philippine History in Art achieves both. The art exhibit of 30 large-scale paintings covering pre-historic Philippines to modern times should serve as a must for every student and observer of the country’s life and times.
A joint project of the University of the Philippines (UP), the UP Alumni Association (UPAA) and the Araneta Center, the exhibit is open free to the public every day at the Gateway Gallery. Students from elementary and secondary schools are set to tour the exhibit with expert guidance from teachers and historians. For the young and old experiencing history through these murals, it promises to be a pleasurable walk.
From the petroglyphs discovered in Angono, Rizal to a depiction of our Austronesian roots and Philippine tribes, and on to Spanish influence and rule, visitors will move on to important fragments of history. The Cry of Pugad Lawin, the declaration of independence in Kawit, Cavite; the great women of history such as Gabriela Silang, young nationalist Macario Sakay, the establishment of the Commonwealth Government, the rise of the labor unions and all the way to the Filipino’s triumph over natural disasters and continuing fight for justice and democracy.
The project team called on the talents of 28 UP alumni artists to bring their visions of history to life on 6 ft. by 12 ft. canvasses. Artists consulted renowned historians Dr. Serafin Quiazon and Prof. Ma. Luisa Camagay, and also researched historic materials on the Net, in old newspapers, and even old movies and vintage airplane models to help recreate details. The project took four years to complete, first envisioned by the UPAA under Atty. Gari M. Tiongco before it was finally mounted.
“The concept was to be a come-on for students to learn the history of the Philippines in just half a day by going around. And not just going around a museum, but here it is given to you in the form of art, from alumni artists of UP. Not every country has this, but here, a tourist can come to the Philippines and learn our history by going over these artworks,” he said.
The participating artists also formed a veritable who’s who of the Philippine art world, specifically: Adonai Artificio, Armand Bacaltos, Adi Baen-Santos, Grandier Bella, Benjie Cabangis, Ben Cabrera, Angel Cacnio, Romeo Carlos, Cris Cruz, Denes Dasco, Gig De Pio, Simkin De Pio, Vincent De Pio, Neil Doloricon, Norman Dreo, Amado Hidalgo, Abdul Asia Mari Imao, Ben Infante, Gigi Javier-Alfonso, Aileen Lanuza, Romeo Mananquil, Norlie Meimban, Julius Samson, Jonahmar Salvosa, Randy Solon, Michael Velasco, Jun Yee, and Janice Young.
“Sining Saysay is an innovative way of teaching history, promoting art appreciation, understanding Filipino identity, and imbibing cultural pride; all constituting valuable aspects of teaching and public service, which the University of the Philippines is mandated to do,” said Alfredo E. Pascual, UP President.
The Gateway Gallery is located on the 5/L of the Gateway Tower Mall. As the country’s largest private gallery, it presents a fitting venue to such an illustrious art project.
“With SiningSaysay, Araneta Center is affirmed as the arts and culture hub of Quezon City. We are housing a collection of great artistic and historic value. This is not just an educational opportunity, but a source of national pride,” said Jorge L. Araneta, Chairman and CEO of the Araneta Group.The exhibit is open every day from 11AM to 7PM at the Gateway Gallery.