Learn Philippine History Through Wonderful Works of Art at SiningSaysay in Gateway Tower Mall, Cubao

It is not that easy to share the history of any country in just a few words. There are so many momentous events that should be told and discussed first to help one better understand and appreciate a nation. This is very true of the Philippines. We have such a colorful history but it takes months of history lessons and classes before young Filipinos could totally understand what our country has been through in the past centuries.   

Atty. Gari M. Tiongco, former UPAA president
Now, there's a great way for parents and teachers to teach and let children experience history through 30 beautiful paintings in an art exhibit that chronicles our nation's life and times. SiningSaysay: Philippine History in Art covers moments from pre-historic Philippines to modern times. 

"Breaking Colonial Ties I" by Romeo Manquil
There, you'll be able to see for yourself how petroglyphs discovered in Angono, Rizal look like, or what went on during the Spanish occupation and rule. Appreciate artists' renderings of the Cry of Pugad Lawin; the declaration of independence in Kawit, Cavite; great women in history such as Gabriela Silang and Melchora Aquino; the establishment of the Commonwealth Government; the rise of the labor unions all the way to recent years when Filipinos continued to fight for justice and democracy. 

"Women Empowerment in the Philippines" by Grace "Gigi" J. Alfonso
SiningSaysay is a joint project of the University of the Philippines (UP), the UP Alumni Association (UPAA), and the Araneta Center. The team called on the talents of 28 UP alumni artists to bring their visions of history to life on 6ft. by 12 ft. canvasses. To ensure the accuracy of elements, the artists consulted renowned historians Dr. Serafin Qiazon and Prof. Ma. Luisa Camagay. They also researched historic materials online, in old newspapers, and even old movies and vintage airplane models to help them recreate details.

Armand B. Bacaltos beside his work "The West Discovers the Philippines I"
I took a close shot of his painting because I was very much fascinated
at how he rendered the Queen of Spain as part of the clouds
while looming over Magellan and Lapu-Lapu 
The project, which was first envisioned by the UPAA under Atty. Gari M. Tiongco, took four years to complete before it was finally mounted. He shared that the concept aims to be a come-on for students to learn the history of the Philippines in just half a day by going around, but not like what one usually does in a museum. "Here, it is given to you in the form of art. Not every country has this, but here, a tourist can come to the Philippines and learn our history by going over these artworks."

"Pre-Hispanic Philippines" by Randy T. Solon
I was very impressed with everything I saw when I went around the gallery. There are so many tiny details in many of the paintings that truly added meaning to what the artists were trying to convey. I love the bursts of colors everywhere you look and the very spacious and well-lit area that makes it a very conducive place of learning. 

A portion of "Breaking Colonial Ties II" by Aileen Grace Lanuza - De Pio
I loved how she included notes to our National Anthem
and included a nice quote from Emilio Aguinaldo under it  
Here's the list of the 29 participating artists who form a veritable who's who of the Philippine art world: Adonai Artificio, Armand Bacaltos, Adi Baen-Santos, Grandier Bella, Benjie Cabangis, Ben Cabrera, Angel Cacnio, Romeo Carlos, Cris Cruz, Denes Dasco, Gig De Pio, Simkin De Pio, Vincent De Pio, Neil Doloricon, Norman Dreo, Amado Hidalgo, Abdul Asia, Mari Imao, Ben Infante, Gigi-Javier-Alfonso, Aileen Lanuza, Romeo Mananquil, Norlie Meimban, Julius Samson, Jonahmar Salvosa, Randy Solon, Michael Velasco, Jun Yee, and Janice Young. Truthfully, knowing this makes me happy and proud that I am also a UP alumna! :)

Jonahmar A. Salvosa beside his painting "Galleon Trade"
Alfredo E. Pascual, UP President, affirmed that "SiningSaysay is an innovative way of teaching history, promoting art appreciation, understanding Filipino identity, and imbibing cultural pride; all constituting valuable aspects of teaching and public service, which the University of the Philippines is mandated to do."

"Prehistoric Philippines II" by Benjamin I. Cabangis
The exhibit can be found at the Gateway Gallery located on the 5th Level of the Gateway Tower Mall. It is the country's largest private gallery that serves as a fitting venue to such an illustrious art project. "With SiningSaysay, Araneta Center is affirmed as the arts and culture hub of Quezon City," said Jorge L. Araneta, Chairman and CEO of the Araneta Group. "We are housing a collection of great artistic and historic value. This is not just an educational opportunity, but a source of national pride."

"Muslim in the Philippines" by National Artist Abdul Mari Asia Imao
SiningSaysay: Philippine History in Art is open every day from 11AM to 7PM. Entrance is free to the public so please bring your children there! I'm visiting again, soon, and tagging my sons along. 

"Filipino Responses to Spanish Colonization" by Vincent Paolo S. De Pio
FYI, I didn't include here all the photos I took because: 1) the photos don't really give due justice to, and were not able to fully capture the vibrant colors of, the paintings, and 2) I really want you, dear readers, to go there and see the whole collection for yourself so you can also feel that awe and pride of our country and its talented people. I guarantee, it will be a worthwhile experience. 

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