A SOJOURNER’S VIEW: The rich tapestry of Mindanao’s inter-weaving art


PRELUDES & PRESENCES – Tales and Poems
By Freeda Ko Quejada+=
Road Map Series Heritage, Volume 5, No. 1, Davao City 2010

    Melona Grace Mascarinas
    Roadmap, Vol. 6, no. 4, sd
  • GAHANDOLANSAY – Garay, Handumanan, Pamalandong, ug Saysay
    By Elvi C. Tamayo
    Blue Iguana Computer Consulting Services. Davao City, 2021
    By Maria Frencie L. Carreon
    Maven Media Asia, Zamboanga City, 2021

As Ms. Arlene Yandug, professor at Xavier University and co-editor of Tinubdan (a Northern Mindanao writing anthology) remarked after attending the opening of the Mindanao Book Festival on June 13, 2022, “The energy, range of materials and local publishers represented are impressive!”

Indeed, the standing crowd that gathered inside the Audiovisual Room of St. Alphonse Theological and Missionary Institute (SATMI) experienced that energy on that rare occasion when a large group of authors from Mindanawon – spanning four generations – have converged under one roof. The other element of the Festival that makes it truly impressive – besides the wide range of materials represented and the extent of the participation of authors – is that the collection of books in this exhibition shows how the different fields of the arts are made for each other. intertwine in the texts.

Following the tradition of the Road Map Series – initiated by the distinguished Tita Lacambra Ayala, pioneering dean of Mindanawon letters – the works of Quejada and Mascariňas are presented in a unique way by drawing on the talent of graphic designers. While the latter’s collection is entirely poetic, the former has both poems and short stories in its works. A background check reveals that the two are into other art fields as well: Quejado in music and visual arts and Mascariňas in films.

Dr. Arlene Yandug, a professor at Xavier University and co-editor of Tinubdan (an anthology of writings from northern Mindanao) remarked after attending the opening of the Mindanao Book Festival on June 13, 2022: ” the energy, the range of materials and the local editors represented are impressive!

On the other hand, those of Tamayo and Carreon combine writing and visual art. In Gahandolansaythe cover of the collection of Tamayo de Cebuano-Bisaya balaks (poems) is a detail of his impressionist paintings. The poems are accompanied by pen and ink drawings by a group of young illustrators, including Aileen Grace C. Bacili, Windelene J. Serrano and Jefferson J. Cortez. Chez Carréron Floralismthe pages of the book also include paintings, pen drawings and posters of the subject.

The field of visual arts in Mindanao has witnessed remarkable growth in the explosion of talent, the number of exhibitions mounted despite the pandemic, and the choices made by artists in terms of genres and subjects. It’s no wonder that those interested in the literary arts tap into the resources of the visual arts to increase the appeal of their publications. The four publications examined are just a few of the many books in this exhibition that bring different fields of art together.

Quejada’s Preludes consists of seven poems and three short stories. As a mother of two, some of the poems refer to children (“children grow, they grow like anything / limbs and thoughts stretch towards the sun / running feet trample our sterility “), to deal with grief (“she cries until her tears/no longer come out of her eye/voice/mouth”) and nature (“the loose black earth reminds us/ barren seasons”). On the other hand, his short stories are fanciful (with an allegorical tale of an old crocodile and a boy who wants to fly) or about the daily concerns of a family, for example the food on the table.

The 14 poems of Mascariňas in Fires (the blurb calls it: a collection…that revolves around family stories – repercussions and repetitions – told in the voice of a young woman experiencing calamitous changes and discoveries”) include short poems (for example House hunt, before dusk with 8 lines) and long (ex. Love story with 64).

The poet’s life through calamity is revealed in various facets of everyday life: the difficulties of finding a house, the fear of arson and meteorites carrying organic molecules colliding with the Earth, claustrophobia , having only noodles for dinner, difficulties with a relative and a heart condition affecting a loved one. Reading the lines about the writer’s various hauntings can bring readers into a full circle as they come to terms with the memories that haunt them.

Tamayo – a philosophy professor and trainer who is also an accomplished painter with a few exhibitions to his name – is described in a blurb as; “spiritual, moving” and his works “flooded with light”. Gahandolansayhis collection of one hundred and one balaks could very well serve – in the words of Nelly Z. Limbadan’s review – as “a tool of change for those willing to look back, look within and look forward.” the front”.

The 101 poems – written in the Cebuano language spoken fluently by those who claim it as their mother tongue – are divided into three sections of a specially designed book (by Igy Castrillo) namely Pakiglambigit (to be related to), Pamaagi (various ways) and Pagandom (Remember).

The design of the book is easy on the eye with plenty of breathing space, the lines are flowing and easy to read. There is not a single word that is lost; and one can only be impressed that one-line poems can evoke so many images. There are rich metaphors because the poet takes advantage of the rich lexicon of Cebuano. Local popular expressions of everyday life – Pastilane! Hay na Lang! Mao na ron! Pikat nimo! Kurat style! Kuyawa Oy! Ato-ato Lang! Puslan man! (local terms very difficult to find in precise equivalent English translations) – take on additional meaning even if they are titles of poems!

Carreon is an award-winning writer and journalist with a few books already under her belt (including Espaces (Stories on the Mission of Fr. Angel Calvo, CMF); Scissors, papers, water and life changing stories and moments. Floralism is described as a book that “explores and presents a unique and new genre in art, as introduced by quintessential artist Nelvert Anino” (who hails from Zamboanga City). Carreon posits that his reason for writing this slim book of just 70 pages with photos of Anino’s paintings, pen drawings and posters is “to bring FLORALISM to all citizens, no matter where they are. , what they can do (as they) enjoy art with flowers” ​​(quoted in the introduction of Fr. Calvo).

Carreon gives the reader an explanation of his use of the term floralism: “It is a form of visual art in which any living form and lifeless object, or drawn scene and hand movements are modeled with the use of flowers whatever whatever the medium. The mediums tried so far are pencil and watercolor. In his first three essays in this book, the author writes about visual art as a reflection of society, the discovery of Anino about her art and how it developed and what is floralism in Anino’s art.Then in the next five essays she describes floralism in relation to machismo/power, with women, with agenda for peace in Mindanao, and vis-à-vis spaces and local wildlife.

While the book shows a good collection of Anino’s work, the photos could only approximate the beauty and grandeur of the original pieces. They must be seen in the actual setting in which they are physically displayed to fully appreciate the unique contribution of Anino’s works to Mindanawon’s nascent visual arts scene. Because, in fact, the genre he has developed is quite unique and one wonders how images of flowers can constitute human faces! As Anino is also an accomplished architect, photos of his work are also included.

[MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Redemptorist Brother Karl Gaspar is a professor at St. Alphonsus Theological and Mission Institute (SATMI) in Davao City and until recently, a professor of Anthropology at the Ateneo de Davao University. Gaspar is Mindanao’s most prolific book author. He writes two columns for MindaNews, one in English (A Sojourner’s Views) and the other in Binisaya (Panaw-Lantaw). Gaspar is a Datu Bago 2018 awardee, the highest honor the Davao City government bestows on its constituents.]


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