Eloquence in art | Inquirer Opinion

Eloquence in art

/ 12:12 AM March 23, 2017

Pictures speak louder than words. I saw this happen before my eyes while watching “Hudyat: Filipino Artists for Human Dignity” at FEU.

After reading Ceres Doyo’s column on this exhibit (“Art enraged,” Opinion, 03/16/17), I invited a co-retiree, FP, to see it for ourselves. She said she would invite another fellow retiree, EK, to join us, but she was not sure if she would be interested to join us. While we were having breakfast at the UP Town Center, I was able to gauge my friends’ attitude toward the theme of Hudyat. While FP was very vocal in condemning the EJKs and enthusiastic in seeing Hudyat, EK was nonchalant. She seemed to be more interested in the food we were eating.

We proceeded to FEU and we were lucky enough to find two FEU tourism students ready to take us around. Right away, we were readily impressed by Toym Imao’s sculptured victims and the art pieces done by Manansala. From there we moved on to the other photos, sculptures, paintings, etc., and as we did, I observed that EK’s attitude was gradually changing from disinterest to full empathy with the victims. She started to complain about the lack of more description of the circumstances leading to the killings and what authorities are doing in response to the incidents. I told her that explaining everything would rub the viewers the opportunity of making their own inferences based on previous knowledge and experiences.

When we reached the black trash bags of corpses, she murmured about police atrocities against the poor; she cursed when we watched the interview done by Sheila Coronel on TV, and she even imitated Julie Lluch on the laptop monitor. She was greatly agitated by the “pieta-like” photograph which she recalled seeing on the front page of the Inquirer. As we viewed the paintings of the FEU College of Fine Arts students, she expressed appreciation for the artists’ work and full sympathy for the victims.


We suggested that Hudyat be taken to other places for more people to see as we thanked our guides for holding umbrellas over our heads as they explained the significance of each picture. We also suggested that some of the materials like Lacaba’s poem be reproduced for visitors to bring home. Incidentally, I think Ninoy Aquino’s photo looks very much older than he was at the time of his death on the tarmac.

Thanks to the 32 artists and photographers who produced the art works, the people who put them together and FEU for this wonderful job of awakening public sensitivity to crime against humanity. Mabuhay po kayo and may your tribe increase!


ELENA C. CUTIONGCO, retired UP professor, Marikina City

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TAGS: art, artist, exhibit, letter, Letter to the Editor, opinion

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