IN celebration of Earth Day on April 22, 2023, the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) will unveil a series of public art installations in collaboration with several visual artists to be held at various locations in the CCP Complex starting April 20, 2023. The conceptual installations will showcase a diverse array of natural, indigenous, and found objects and materials transformed into public art, with the aim of promoting public consciousness about environmental issues.
For this year, one solo and one group of visual artists will exhibit their artworks: “Tanod-Lupa” (Nature Guardians) by Abdulmari “Toym” De Leon-Imao, a multimedia artist in both classical and contemporary styles; and “Surogpon Kita” by Kintab Artists Group, Inc., a Bicol-based non-profit group of visual artists, writers, musicians, and other creative talents, dedicated to expressing diverse identities through their unique artworks.
In “Tanod-Lupa” (Nature Guardians) by De Leon-Imao, various illuminated Philippine mythical creatures will be showcased. The installation incorporates elements of Philippine folklore’s mythical creatures and uses illuminated lanterns to enhance their otherworldliness in the installation site. The designs draw inspiration from pre-colonial patterns and iconography to portray these creatures as essential parts of the natural ecosystem rather than just evil or demonic. The figurative lanterns, made of welded steel, fibers, and fiberglass, are larger than life and internally illuminated by LED lights. The whimsical design ensures that the creatures do not appear frightening or stereotypical. The public can view the installation at the CCP Liwasang Kalikasan beginning April 20, 2023. In September, the reinvented “panolong” of Maranao Torogan houses of the south will also be displayed. The “panolong” is an architectural element representing the “naga”- a serpent or dragon protecting the perimeter of the nobleman’s Torogan house. The “panolong” also visually elevates the Torogan above the ground, showing that the structure is unique and has an essential status in society.
Meanwhile, the Earth Day theme “Invest in our planet” is reflected in this year’s installation of Kintab Artists Group, Inc., (KAGI)’s “Surogpon Kita” (We are Connected). The installation features papier-mâché masks and assemblages made from natural and indigenous materials sourced from local artisans in the province of Bicol. These materials, such as abaca ropes, coco coir, palaspas, cogon grass, and local vines known as balagon, highlight the importance of connectivity and self-identification with our planet in an organic and grounded manner. KAGI advocates for taking action as stewards of the earth, emphasizing the need for protection and cultivation of our planet’s resources.
During the launch of “Surogpon Kita,” a performance art, entitled “Kawayanon” is also slated to run. Seven performance artists will use the SUROGPON KITA installation by Kintab Artists Group Inc. as inspiration for engaging with passers-by through creative physical conversations. Each artist will draw on their personal experiences to unpredictably respond to the expansive structure made of indigenous materials, particularly bamboo. Bamboo has been suggested as a symbolic material representing unity in diversity, promoting brotherhood and harmony within the installation art. The theme of the performance art group, inspired by the British archaic word “ANON” in KAWAYANON, conveys the idea of being present in the moment, fostering connection and promoting the concept of “being connected” as members of one human family. “Surogpon Kita” can be viewed until May 28, 2023.
The CCP Film, Broadcast, and New Media will also showcase curated selection of films that pay tribute to the lives of patriotic Filipino environmentalists and earth warriors, including those from the distant future with the installation of CCP Cinema Under the Stars and CCP Arthouse Cinema. Catch these Gawad Alternatibo films for free: “Himig Himbing,” “Balitok” by She Andes, and “Walang Hanggang Buhay ni Leonardo Co” by Nannette Matilac on April 20, 2023 at 3:00 pm at CCP Liwasang Kalikasan. The documentary “Balitok” portrays the economic survival strategies of the Kalanguya and Kankana-ey indigenous tribes in Nueva Vizcaya, who engage in artisanal or small-scale mining. The film follows the perspectives of Ongan, a 13-year-old small-scale miner, and Mona, an artisanal miner with decades of experience in the industry. It provides insights into the laborious mining processes and can serve as a case study on the state of small-scale mining in the Philippines. Meanwhile, in “Walang Hanggang Buhay ni Leonardo Co,” the documentary, narrated by the late ethnobotanist Leonardo Co’s daughter and only child, offers a unique perspective on human rights and environmental activism. It sheds light on the tragic event of the government’s shooting of Leonardo Co, which sparked a national tragedy and impacted the realms of human rights and environmental campaigning.
At 8:00 pm, watch “Ani,” a Cinemalaya film by Kim Zuñiga & Sandro Del Rosario. Set in the year 2050, in the Federal State of Bicol, “Ani” tells the story of a young boy who goes to live with his estranged grandfather on a farm after he recently lost his parents. When his grandfather falls ill and the crops on their farm start failing, the boy, named Mithi, sets out on a quest with his malfunctioning robot to find magical grains that he believes can save his grandfather’s life.
From April 20 to 30, 2023, the CCP main building will also light up with earth colors which the public may view from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm.