OVER 70 visual artists rendered their own interpretation of the word kalayaan or freedom as they marked the 114th anniversary of the Philippine Independence in the exhibit titled Looking for Juan Outdoor Banner Project 2012 at the Vargas Museum of the University of the Philippines-Diliman from June 13 to 30.

The annual exhibit, organized by the Center for Art, New Ventures, and Sustainable Development (CANVAS), set up tarpaulin banner reproductions of the artworks in display around the Academic Oval of the university and the BenCab Museum in Baguio City.

Among the Thomasian artists who participated in the exhibit were Raoul Ignacio “Iggy” Rodriguez, Jomike Tejido, Anton Balao, Sergio “Serj” Bumatay, Wesley Valenzuela, Thomas Daquioag, and Dr. Dante Lerma of the UST Health Service. The Varsitarian’s former and current photography editors Jilson Seckler Tiu and Sherwin Marion Vardeleon also presented their artworks.

Tiu and Vardeleon, along with fourth year Advertising Arts student Jonyl Gabana, created “Hiram na Sining,” which was inspired by the works of Jackson Pollock, who is best known for his drip painting. The artwork portrays a well-known cartoon character, Iron Man, splattered with an array of colors. It symbolizes an artist expressing freedom through his works, but is inspired by foreign cultures.

“How can you attain freedom when your art is foreign in itself?” Tiu said.

Lerma’s “Homeward Bound,” done in the French renaissance trompe l’oeil style, was inspired by the Overseas Filipino Workers’ continuing exodus abroad, limiting their freedom as citizens of their own country. Made of acrylic in canvas, the artwork is festooned by an image of a concrete-looking crumpled paper, which opens up to reveal a bird flying above an ocean.

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Sa telon ng kasaysayan

“Filipinos are meant to live in their homeland. They are meant to live their lives and enjoy their right to freedom. Here, they earn what they work for, but they are still in the presence of their loved ones,” Lerma said.

Architect Jomike Tejido’s “Protect the Blue,” which was made of acrylic on a hand-woven mat or banig, depicts two whale sharks swimming in the ocean. It aims to impart to the people that “freedom is not just for humans.”

On the other hand, Balao, an Interior Design graduate, imparts the message that “to be free is to be saved” with the use of rough abstracts and solid colors in his painting “Salvation.”

Fine Arts alumnus Serj Bumatay presents a collection of surreal images in his artwork called “The Valiant” to depict his interpretation of independence. It features a ribbon labelled with the word tagumpay or victory surrounding a bird-like figure and swimming eye balls below.

Gigo Alampay, the executive director of CANVAS, said the exhibit aimed to underscore what it means to be a Filipino.

“This year, the artworks aimed to explore the meaning of freedom and why it is important, especially today,” Alampay said.

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