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Philippine history told through art

A visual narrative of the Filipinos’ struggle to maintain freedom and sovereignty of their land
/ 12:01 AM April 19, 2015

SiningSaysay, from two Filipino words meaning art and history, is a collaboration among three institutions working to make it an innovative way of teaching history. The University of the Philippines (UP), UP Alumni Association (UPAA) and Araneta Center Inc. pooled resources to mount 30 artworks by 28 distinguished alumni, including a national artist of the UP College of Fine Arts.

Guided by historians Dr. Serafin Quiazon and Ma. Luisa Camagay, each artist depicted his vision in oil, acrylic or stone over many months so that the artists became historians themselves, merging the dual discipline of history and art.

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UPAA president Ponciano E. Rive-ra Jr. envisioned SiningSaysay as “a tableau of the entire archipelago and a timeline that ends with an ellipsis—dot, dot, dot,” where images of future events can be added later.

The complete collection of 30 large easel paintings are on view at Gateway Gallery on the fifth floor of Gateway Towers, Araneta Center in Cubao, Quezon City until SiningSaysay finds a permanent home on UP campus.

PRE-HISPANIC PERIOD

“ANGONO PETROGLYPHS” BY JUNYEE

The earliest evidence of writing consisting of line incisions and drawings of human figures, triangles, rectangles and circles were found in the Angono cave in Rizal.

“PRE-HISTORIC MATERIAL CULTURE” BY BENJIE CABANGIS

Manunggul burial jar dating back to 890 BC tells of a seafaring people.

“PAMBANSANG BANGKA” BY SIMKIN DE PIO

Filipinos belong to the Austronesian group, a seafaring people who migrated from either Taiwan or northeastern Indonesia, according to two theories, and were known as boat builders.

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“THE GHOSTS OF THE FUTURE” BY GIG DE PIO

Among ethnolinquistic groups, the Visayan Pintados stood out for their body tattoo.

“PRE-HISPANIC PHILIPPINES” BY RANDY SOLON

In a barangay, the leader is called a datu and the priestess is referred to as catalonan (among Tagalogs) or babaylan (Visayans).

“THE SARIMANOK AS CULTURAL SYMBOL” BY ABDULMARI ASIA IMAO

Islam reached the shores of Sulu in 1380 with the Tausug as the first group who accepted it as a religion and way of life. The Sultanates of Sulu, Maguindanao and Lanao later resisted military expeditions sent by the Spanish and American colonizers.

SPANISH COLONIALISM

“THE WEST DISCOVERS THE PHILIPPINES” BY ARMAND BACALTOS

The Spanish expedition of Ferdinand Magellan reached the Philippines in 1521, which led to the subjugation of natives beginning with the Legazpi-Sikatuna blood compact.

“THE BATTLE OF MACTAN AND CHRISTIANIZATION” BY AMADO HIDALGO

The battle of Mactan caused Magellan’s death and Lapu-Lapu’s recognition as the first Filipino leader to fight foreign aggression.

“THE ONSET OF THE REVOLUTION” BY VINCENT DE PIO

Filipinos responded to Spanish colonialism with revolts. The ilustrado, including Jose Rizal, later demanded reforms. When reforms did not materialize, Filipinos took to waging a revolution led by the Katipunan.

“BREAKING COLONIAL TIES” BY ROMEO MANANQUIL

The execution of the priests Gomez, Burgos and Zamora in 1872, the Reform Movement and the execution of Jose Rizal inspired the Katipunan even more in the revolution against Spain.

“THE FILIPINO STRUGGLE FOR INDEPENDENCE” BY AILEEN LANUZA

Emilio Aguinaldo took over the revolution after Bonifacio’s death and accepted the Truce of Biak-na-Bato. Forced to go into exile, Aguinaldo returned when the Americans came and declared Philippine independence from Spain in Kawit, Cavite.

AMERICAN COLONIALISM

“REASSERTING INDEPENDENCE” BY DON ARTIFICIO

Filipinos, as exemplified by Gen. Gregorio del Pilar valiantly riding his white horse, face the American invaders after Spain lost the Philippines to the United States.

“AMERICAN BETRAYAL OF AN ALLY” BY NORMAN DREO

A least-known hero, Macario Sakay, continued to fight the Americans and was branded a bandit.

“QUEZON AND OSMEÑA ADMINISTRATION” BY ROMEO CARLOS and NORMAN DREO

The Commonwealth government was headed by Manuel L. Quezon and later Sergio Osmeña as President. Osmeña took charge of running the government while the Americans were occupied with the complete liberation of the Philippines from the Japanese.

JAPANESE OCCUPATION

“OCCUPIED PHILIPPINES” BY JULIUS SAMSON

The Commonwealth government was interrupted by the Japanese Occupation for three years during which the invaders sponsored a republic headed by Jose P. Laurel. But on Oct. 20, 1944, Gen. Douglas MacArthur returned with Osmeña and Carlos P. Romulo, President and Cabinet member, respectively, through Palo, Leyte to lead the liberation forces.

THE REPUBLIC

“BUILDING FROM THE ASHES” BY NORLITO MEIMBAN

After liberation, the Americans finally granted the Philippines independence on July 4, 1946, signifying the end of American rule. Elected first president of the Third Republic was Manuel Roxas.

“QUIRINO PRESIDENCY” BY ROMEO CARLOS and MICHAEL VELASCO

Upon the sudden death of Roxas in 1948, Vice President Elpidio Quirino served the former’s unexpired term and got a fresh mandate as President when he won the presidential election in 1950.

“POST-WAR PHILIPPINES” BY BEN INFANTE

Quirino was followed by Ramon Magsaysay, Carlos Garcia and Diosdado Macapagal. Magsaysay endeared himself to the common tao by improving the life of the rural folk. Garcia’s administration is associated with the Filipino First policy of giving precedence to local industries and favoring Filipino capital. Macapagal’s administration takes credit for the introduction of a Land Reform Code and the change in our Independence Day from July 4 to June 12.

“BATAS MILITAR” BY PABLO BAEN-SANTOS

The country entered one of its darkest moments with the proclamation of martial law by President Ferdinand Marcos on Sept. 21, 1972.

“YELLOW FEVER” BY ANGEL CACNIO

Filipinos unite to end the Marcos regime through people power. As they marched at Edsa, the people gave their support to the widow of the slain opposition leader Benigno Aquino Jr., Corazon Aquino, who became President.

“DYIPNI RIDE” BY MICHAEL VELASCO

President Fidel V. Ramos extended amnesty to the members of Reform the Armed Forces Movement, who staged coup attempts against the Aquino administration, and negotiated with the Moro National Liberation Front and the National Democratic Front. President Joseph Estrada headed the celebrations marking the centennial of the declaration of Philippine independence on June 12, 1898.

“THE JOURNEY CONTINUES” BY GRANDIER BELLA

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo became President as she assumed the unexpired term of deposed President Estrada and gained a fresh mandate in 2004. Her term marked the introduction of automated elections in the country. Elected in 2010, Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III leads the Philippines to the matuwid na daan (straight path of governance).

Gateway Gallery is open every day, no breaks, from 11 a.m. to 7 pm. For group tours, contact the curator at 0908-8816406 or e-mail [email protected]

PHOTOS OF PAINTINGS BY LEO M. SABANGAN II

INFOGRAPHICS BY LYNETT A. VILLARIBA

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TAGS: Abdulmari Asia Imao, Aileen Lanuza, Amado Hidalgo, American occupation, andres bonifacio, Angono cave, Angono Petroglyphs, Araneta Center, Armand Bacaltos, art, Benjie Cabangis, Carlos P. Romulo, Cavite, Commonwealth government, Don Artificio, Douglas MacArthur, Emilio Aguinaldo, Ferdinand magellan, Gig de Pio, Gomburza, Gregorio del Pilar, Japanese Occupation, Jose P. Laurel, Jose Rizal, Julius Samson, Junyee, Katipunan, Kawit, Ma. Luisa Camagay, Macario Sakay, Manuel L. Quezon, Manunggul, Norlito Meimban, Norman Dreo, Philippine history, philippine independence, Pintados, Ponciano E. Rive-ra Jr., Randy Solon, Romeo Carlos, Romeo Mananquil, sarimanok, Serafin Quiazon, Sergio Osmeña, Simkin de Pio, SiningSaysay, Spanish Occupation, Truce of Biak-na-Bato, University of the Philippines, UP Alumni Association, UP College of Fine Arts, Vincent de Pio
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