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New works by Abdulmari Imao at Galerie Joaquin

(The Philippine Star) - February 10, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - On the occasion of the National Artist Abdulmari Imao’s 77th birthday, Galerie Joaquin examines Imao’s navigation through national and regional mythologies in an exhibition of his latest works. Titled “Mythical Realms,” the exhibition is a fascinating survey of the intellectual nous and technical intricacies that have seen Imao become an important figurehead in Philippine visual art.

The show is on view until Feb. 14 at Galerie Joaquin’s main gallery in San Juan. “Mythical Realms” displays the best examples culled from the prolific oeuvre of this living national treasure.

The exhibition looks into three of Imao’s most iconic design themes: sarimanok, the sari fish and calligraphy which is his homage to a greater deity. Taking two forms, acrylic on canvas and brass/wood sculptures, the artist revels in a bold use of bright colors, bold lines, and an abstract, stained glass window-like aesthetic sensibility. His works prominently feature the ukkil or okir — geometric flowing designs used to decorate southern traditional clothing, weapons and houses.  The brilliance is that he applies the same aesthetic styles to all forms—so one can look at a sarimanok brass figure and think that it jumped out of a sarimanok canvas. His works featuring the sari-fish acknowledges that he was once a fisherman.  Inspired by the colorful fishes of the Sulu Sea, he lets his imagination run rampant with the vivid colors that he uses in his paintings.

Born and raised in Sulu, Imao celebrates his Mindanaon heritage by drawing inspiration from Tausug and Maranaw art and lore and from the richness of Southeast Asian culture and mythological traditions. With his consistent and successful usage of folk themes, myths and legends, his work strongly links Filipino, Malay and Indonesian cultures. They go beyond the clichéd appropriation of genre scenes so common in Philippine art.

Imao creates and assumes, both with his sculptures and paintings, Southeast Asian archetypes to retell the myths and legends of the culture of his birth.

Galerie Joaquin is at 371 P. Guevarra Street corner Montessori Lane, Addition Hills, City of San Juan. For information, call 723-9418, e-mail at info@galeriejoaquin.com, or visit www.galeriejoaquin.com.

 

ADDITION HILLS CITY OF SAN JUAN GALERIE JOAQUIN GUEVARRA STREET IMAO MALAY AND INDONESIAN MONTESSORI LANE MYTHICAL REALMS SOUTHEAST ASIAN
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