“Ibpa” (Father)For many years, I spent long hours of exploring art in different forms, shapes, sizes and techniques. The never-ending... Read More
For many years, I spent long hours of exploring art in different forms, shapes, sizes and techniques. The never-ending quest for “perfection” went to a grinding halt during our challenging times in 2020.
Most of the works I love were created during my college days. These works defies traditional art techniques using gun powder, wicks, wax, rockets, floating cubes (balloons) etc to name a few. These are ephemeral works that defies commodification of art. All were created in the 80’s and 90’s prior to the proliferation and widespread use of computers, internet and social media. It was in later years that I deviated from those kind of works. The economic and cultural challenges we’ve endured since migrating to U.S. in 1997 lead me to create “safe” works that compromised my freedom to create beyond conventions. When time stood still during pandemic, I began to reflect on my life. And that “AHA” moment just made me think of crafting this piece. It is still within the scope of a traditional painting but it somehow completes the puzzle which I have been seeking. This works relates to impermanence of life. The inspiration goes back to my childhood years with my father.
“Ibpa” (Father) pertains to the concepts of “impermanence”, “ethereal”, ”ephemeral”, “mortality” and spirituality”. After the death of my father in 2016, all the material things he left behind were all contained in one tall narrow cabinet. He lived a very simple life. I recall the days when I watch him makes nipa huts model (a small house shown in the painting) made of wild tall grass he picked along side the roads. He precisely cuts them and assembled them using needles. Other times he would create paper flowers using foils from a cigarette packs. He spends some time teaching me how to draw. But on the other hand, our most special bond was spent in the garden. Almost each week, I would ask him to climb a tree to get some young green coconuts. (From a toddler’s perspective, these trees are 30 feet tall) I watched him peeled/ husked the coconuts with a machete and would later enjoy the fruit of his labor. He loves tending to his garden. One of the seedlings I saw from his nursery are old coconuts growing its leaves. In my painting, the floating coconuts symbolizes “beginnings”. We can make our dreams bigger (higher or taller like the coconut tree) but all has its endings. We can always start another one along our journey. The lesson here is not to lament the lost and gone. The past is past. Here is now.
The ancient scripts scribbled inside the circle is about a Kapampangan folk song from the Philippines that we used to sing when we were kids titled “Atin Ku Pung SingSing“ (I Have a Ring”) It is about a ring given by a parent to a child and was kept in a container but was eventually lost or misplace. It conveys the concept of “that which is not there”. To my own interpretation relating to my work ,“Ibpa” relates to the wisdom bestowed by my father. He has not given us material things but the time he spent with us resonates, “IMPRINTed” in our brain the learning processes that I have carried unconsciously. Funny how I just realized as I am writing this, I connected “Imprinting” a concept in handing down behaviors of a parent to their infant to the process I used in this work (and mostly from my sculptures) Was it a coincidence?
In addition to the ring, the negative space inside the ring was defined using real gold leaf while outside the circle are imprinted objects gilded with fake gold leaf. It relates to material and immaterial concepts, its value and place in life.
Lastly, a few years before the death of my father, I went home to visit him. One day I took him to his doctor for a check up. He was inside a room waiting for his doctor. I was checking on him then I saw him covering his one eye with his hand. He was loosing his sight and he constantly checks his one eye. (Monocular vision) This image relates to “perspective”. There are challenges in life which we can’t seem to conquer. Sometimes we have to relearn to see things. A change in perspective can help us understand people or a situation.