PUBLIC sculptures are hardly given attention, let alone recognized. But, they nevertheless exist, and they are essentially a part of our cultural heritage.

This is the focus of the forum last Sept. 23 titled, “Scavenging for figures past: A look into the state of public sculptures in the Philippines.” The event aimed to bring to light the conditions that time and neglect have set upon these structures.

Sculptor and former president of the Art Association of the Philippines (AAP) Ramon Ornina presented images of various public sculptures around Metro Manila and said that they cannot make fundamental changes to preserve the beauty of the sculptures because of the intellectual property law. To make clear his point, Ornina gave as an example a Ninoy Aquino sculpture made by Anastacio Caedo that the Church wanted to change.

“When Peter de Guzman was offered a commission to make some additions in Caedo’s work, he refused because he said it was the work of another sculptor,” said Ornina. “When the Church learned about this, they asked him instead to make another one…and so he did.”

Meanwhile, proprietor Martin Galan of the House of Precasts explained in his lecture the many ways they are able to preserve sculptures, and even public buildings rich in cultural tradition. He described how they cannot touch the primary foundations of the sculpture—they limit their preservation only to documentation, retouches and maintenance.

Former Department of Tourism secretary Gemma Cruz-Araneta also emphasized the importance of the youth participating in the continuing process of preserving public sculptures in order to pass them on to future generations.

Open Letter of International Catholic Educators to the 14 Ateneo Professors

With the help of the intellectual property law, appropriate preservation techniques, and the active participation of cultural heritage enthusiasts, public sculptures still stand today. Perhaps there should be more of such fora,


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