Super Sungdu-an at the National Musuem

View of Sungdu-an Installation

View of Sungdu-an Installation

While other countries regularly mount their biennials or triennials, our Sungdu-an is the closest thing we have to a nationally

Christine Sicangco, "Thou Son's Cranes"

Christine Sicangco, "Thou Son's Cranes"

organized visual arts event.  The term sungdu-an comes from Waray and means confluence. This coming together of artistic expressions from four regions, Luzon,

Michelline Syjuco, "The Vengeance of Our Childhood and Old Age"

Michelline Syjuco, "The Vengeance of Our Childhood and Old Age"

Visayas, Mindanao, and the National Capital Region, began in 1996 as a project of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).  This fifth edition, mounted at the National Museum in Manila, carries as its theme Current:  Daloy ng Dunong.

I highly recommend a visit to the National Museum to catch this, a must for all contemporary art lovers.  The pieces are super, the artists well chosen, the materials imaginatively utilized!  I wish, though, that the NCCA had provided for a catalogue or brochure that could give us a better understanding of the artists’ intentions and processes.  Perhaps next time they can find a sponsor from the private sector?  What a pity for all the effort to go undocumented.

Michelline Syjuco, detail

Michelline Syjuco, detail

Of the twenty works on view, my favorites are two installations,  Thou Son’s Cranes by Christine Sicangco and Vengeance of Our Childhood and Old Age from Michelline Syjuco.  Christine’s use of fiber optics to change the colors of her hanging paper cranes totally charms.  The colors mesmerize. Perhaps the piece may be considered a bit derivative, but who cares?  Michelline’s work deals with globalization as both boon and bane to developing countries such as ours.  She embellishes a large wooden horse, globalization as a Trojan gift, with the embossed steel decor of a kalesa. The horse tramples on an enlarged

Hanna Pettyjohn, "DFW:SOS"

Hanna Pettyjohn, "DFW:SOS"

Amorsolo image of an idyllic Pinoy scene.  All around her space, she scatters discarded bits from an antique carossa.  Through the strategic positioning of  light she creates shadows, an allusion to illusion.  A revolving disco ball throws its reflections around the piece, giving it movement.

Another view of Hanna Pettyjohn's "DFW:SOS"

Another view of Hanna Pettyjohn's "DFW:SOS"

In a room off the main gallery, Hanna Pettyjohn installs DFW:SOS, a prequel

By Hanna Pettyjohn

By Hanna Pettyjohn

to experiences she relived for her SLab show, American Sweet.  In that show, she looked back at a period spent in Dallas, a time of alienation and loneliness in an American suburb. For this piece’s focal

Keiye M. Tuazon, "Terrestrial Platforms"

Keiye M. Tuazon, "Terrestrial Platforms"

point, she uses a large painting of a house under construction.  She lived in this house during that stay in Dallas.  She takes off from the painting, integrating her images of gravel with actual gravel that almost covers the room’s entire floor.  Amidst this, she reprises from that previous

Another view, exhibit installation

Another view, exhibit installation

show scattered cast plaster replicas of this house to illustrate the monotony of the architectural landscape in that neighborhood.  She also uses the terra cotta owls that made up her previous body of work. In the room’s small foyer, she installs the man-sized birdcage which has become a signature to all her shows.

Guttierrez Mangansahan II, "Requiem 2Moro", detail

Guttierrez Mangansakan II, "Requiem 2Moro", detail

As you enter the gallery, you see Requiem for 2Moro by Gutierrez Mangansakan II, a video and mixed media installation.  Adjacent to it hang Keiye Miranda Tuazon’s photorealistic paintings of desolate spaces, Terrestrial Platform, Disruptured Happenings I and II.

Rodel Tapaya, "The Great Flood"

Rodel Tapaya, "The Great Flood"

Rodel Tapaya, "Changing Landscapes"

Rodel Tapaya, "Changing Landscapes"

In keeping with the exhibit’s theme on the flow of knowledge, Rodel Tapaya uses his space to reflect on oral traditions as the means to imparting knowledge.  His diorama, Changing Landscapes, and his

Rodel Tapaya , diorama detail

Rodel Tapaya , diorama detail

accompanying painting, The Great Flood, seem oddly prescient.  The painting recounts the revenge of the god, Lumawig, on people who do not care for their land, sending a great flood in which no one but two children survive.  To expound on this, his diorama speaks of mythical gods who control water and life forms affecting water elements.  He dwells on water as both giver of life and dispenser of punishment.  Little did Rodel realize the aptness of his concept.

Kiri Dalena, installation detail

Kiri Dalena, installation detail

Kart Aguila, "The Bridge"

Karl Aguila, "The Bridge Project"

Karl Aguila’s The Bridge Project and Kiri Dalena’s Found Figures in Stones Translated by Pakil Carvers (Ka Noe and Ka Sally) occupy the gallery’s central space.  Karl constructs his bridge from recycled wood and installs

Oscar Floirendo, "Pinagdaanan, Pinagdadaanan, Pagdadaanan"

Oscar Floirendo, "Pinagdaanan, Pinagdadaanan, Pagdadaanan"

this above a river of brown sugar. He has poured sugar on the bridge’s joints just as a mason would use cement to seal gaps. He works from Dumaguete and this piece reflects on sugar as both the lifeblood of Negros as well as its curse. In reaction to the show’s theme, Karl muses on the bridge’s dual role.  As it subverts one from the current of water beneath, it also propels one forward, connecting towards one’s  goal.

Kiri uses wood and discarded wood chips for her installation of two cowering, recumbent figures, as beautifully done as her award-winning piece from the Lopez Museum exhibit earlier this year.

Errol Balcos, "KaPOSoh"

Errol Balcos, "KaPOSoh"

A few months ago, I went to a small gallery in Don Galo, Parañaque.  They featured artists who work in Cagayan de Oro.  Two of them, Oscar Floirendo and Errol Balcos, have been chosen to represent Mindanao for this Sungdu-an.  Oscar uses his holograms from his Philippine Art Awards piece.

Errol Balcos, "kapaMEALyah"

Errol Balcos, "kapaMEALyah"

Errol shows oil paintings in black, white, and red.  Errol also made the short list of the 2007 Philippine Art Awards.  With these paintings, you can see why.

Still another view of the installation

Still another view of the installation

Rommel Pidazo, "Found Objects", detail

Rommel Pidazo, "Found Objects", detail

On one wall, Rommel Pidazo installs his pieces

Errol "Budoy" Marabiles, "Tester"

Errol "Budoy" Marabiles, "Tester"

from found objects, mostly refuse set for the recycle bin.  Errol “Budoy” Marabiles comments on the brouhaha over the selection of National Artists with

"Tester", detail

"Tester", detail

Tester. Hidden speakers blare out details of the Hello Garci scandal.  Across it, Goldie Poblador mounts terrariums and

Goldie Poblador, "Terrariums:  TheTwo Phases of Our Intentions"

Goldie Poblador, "Terrariums: TheTwo Phases of Our Intentions"

aquariums.  She fills one of her tanks with janitor fish

Terrariums, detail

Terrariums, detail

lifted from the street, brought in by flood waters from an overflowing Marikina River.  On the branches of  bonsai atop one terrarium, she hangs small glass vials like tiny Christmas ornaments.  She calls these vials fruits.  Remove the cork stoppers from the vials and they reek of fuel. Indeed fruits borne by a polluted environment.

Sagada artist Brian Uhing hangs Angels/ Anitos .  Produksyon Tramontina Inc. displays the video installation Nature Vs. Nurture. Rey Bollozos does a mixed media installation Lantang.  On the gallery’s far end, Mark Salvatus creates a green, plastic garden behind a slit in the wall, a reference to a secret garden cultivated by inmates from a Quezon City jail using makeshift tools.

CJ Tañedo also chooses to bring out paintings, one of which is a relatively large one called Ode to Lazarus. Margaret Kathryn P. Tecson does a lovely hanging fish-shaped soft sculpture, Kina-Iya, constructed from fabric culled from ukay-ukayTalaandig Artists created paintings on canvas using soil (yes soil!) as medium.

Kudos to Sungdu-an’s project team headed by Patrick Flores and to the curators who worked with the artists:  Chit Ramirez, Dennis Ascalon, Irma Lacorte, and Cris Rollo!  Congratulations!

Sungdu-an 5 Current:  Daloy ng Dunong runs from 30 September to 15 November at the  North Wing, 4F, Museum of the Filipino People, Finance Road cor Agrifina, Manila.  For inquiries on the museum’s hours, call the Museum Foundation at (632)404-2685.

Artists for Sungdu-an 5 are Karl Aguila, Errol Balcos, Rey Bollozos, Kiri Dalena, Oscar Floirendo, Gutierrez Mangansakan II, Errol “Budoy” Marabiles, Keiye Miranda Tuazon, Hanna Pettyjohn, Rommel Pidazo, Goldie Poblador, Produksyon Tramontina, Inc., Mark Salvatus, Christine Sicangco, Michelline Syjuco, Talaandig Artists, CJ Tañedo, Rodel Tapaya, Margaret Kathryn Tecson, Brian Uhing, Noe Vanzuela


Brian Uhing, "Angels/Anitos"

Brian Uhing, "Angels/Anitos"

Brian Uhing, detail

Brian Uhing, detail

Brain Uhing, detail

Brain Uhing, detail

Produksiyon Tramontina Inc, "Nature vs Nurture"

Produksiyon Tramontina Inc, "Nature vs Nurture"

"Nature vs Nurture", detail

"Nature vs Nurture", detail

Mark Salvatus, "Secret Garden"

Mark Salvatus, "Secret Garden"

CJ Tanedo, "Ode to Lazarus"

CJ Tanedo, "Ode to Lazarus"

Margaret Kathryn P. Tecson, "Kina-iya"

Margaret Kathryn P. Tecson, "Kina-iya"

Rey Bollozos, "Lantang"

Rey Bollozos, "Lantang"

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12 Responses to Super Sungdu-an at the National Musuem

  1. Dawn says:

    Hi, Trickie! Great show. Congrats to all the artists and curators.

  2. Phanie says:

    Hi! Very nice review :) One of the artists’ name from Visayas is misspelled. It should be “Karl Aguila” and the complete title of his work is “The Bridge Project.” I can send you his artist statement also so you can better understand his work, just send me your email add :)

    • manilaartblogger says:

      Thank you for taking the time. Would appreciate any info you can provide on Karl’s work. As I said, I wish a brochure had been available!

  3. cris says:

    I’m confused at how the National Museum assigns its spaces in the two buildings it occupies. It is this confusion that made me miss the Sungdu-an completely. I have to admit I didn’t know the Sungdu-an was currently going on at the Museum, but it was such a shame to miss after going to the lengths of visiting the Museum. Like a dutiful Filipino, I went there to finally see Juan Luna’s Spoliarium after only seeing it in books, postcards and magazines. Due to lack of time though, and wanting to avoid rush hour traffic, I only went to check out the art gallery. Although the space designated for Luna and Hidalgo was huge and fitting I find the rest of the what is now called the National Gallery of Art, a little wanting(there’s precious little artwork for a ‘national’ gallery. Where are they? All at the CCP?) and a bit of a mix-bag. Shouldn’t the section on the construction of Manila after World War I by the Americans be in the new National Museum of the Filipino People and not in a Gallery of Art? And shouldn’t the Sungdu-an be at the Gallery of Art instead of at the Museum of the Filipino People, after all, it’s an art event? It can’t be because there’s no space in the art gallery for it. There was a group show of installation works by young artists on the upper floor and, somewhat bizarrely, a room full of animal skeletons! And there were rooms with doors shut which I would presume, some, would be empty? Had there also been banners or tarpaulins for the Sundu-an in front of the Museum of the Filipino People then people would know that there’s a special event going on at the Museum. If the congressmen, mayor, vice mayor, local councilors and even barangay captains could have their faces plastered all over Manila on tarps saying ‘Happy Valentines’(and still be there by Christmas) at every nook and cranny of the city that it hurts the eyes, then how come the Museum could not even put a single one up for an event like this?

    I’ll try my best to come see it if I still can. But if I just couldn’t then I’m grateful that ManilaArtBlogger was around for it(the Sungdu-an) to show me what I’ve missed. You don’t know how glad and grateful I am to have found your blog.

  4. manilaartblogger says:

    Welcome to the frustrating world of trying to help the National Museum!

  5. Anj Rosario says:

    Hi, nice review about the Sungdu-an exhibit. There is a brochure about the exhibit, although it only contains the curators’ notes and a history of the exhibit. I don’t think all of the artists’ works’ and their info would fit in a brochure. There is, however, a catalogue in the works and will be out by November. :-)

  6. riya brigino says:

    pleased to inform everyone that Sungdu-an 5 catalogue will be printed very soon.

  7. oscar floirendo says:

    hi, nice review…and thanks for visiting our show at Don Galo “north of south”… us mindanaoans really appreciate for your time…just a challenge, try to see more of artists from mindanao, they/we have much undiluted art to offer… they just need a chance to be seen and heard….

    thanks again,
    oca

  8. Angging says:

    hi!

    i had a chance to see Sungdu-an at the National Museum. Pero bakit hindi naka-post dito ang mga photos ng murals ng Talaandig soil artists of Bukidnon? their works are one of the best there. indeed!

    thank you.

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