Halloweens, though an acquired tradition in the Philippines from the Western world, is celebrated by wealthy families and companies in the country every end of October, in preparation for the feast of All Saints and All Souls Days, which fall on November 1 and 2.
People go through the hussle of decorating offices and homes in eerie designs and painting their kids in zombie and skeleton fashions with walls teeming with cotton to give an appearance of decrepit rooms in mansions and graveyards.
But there is a more localized version for such Halloween spirit through the visual art installations entitled “SINAG Tanod-Lupa” at the Cultural Center of the Philippines Liwasang KalikHasan, which opened last September 28 until December 31. Admission is free.
Nuno Sa Punso (Photo Courtesy: Rodel Valiente)
This multimedia visual art installation is a pet project of Visual Artist Abdulmari “Toym” De Leon Imao’s and has been drawing crowds among park goers at the CCP for Sinag 2023 activities.
The installation was launched together with CCP’s 50th-anniversary celebration on September 28, accompanied by a band performance by MONZTER JAM.
Toym Imao is the son of the late National Artist for Visual Arts, Doctor Abdulmari Asia Imao, a Muslim artist who expressed and crafted public art through historical installations; thus, his fondness for mythological creatures comes from his multicultural roots.
Tanod-Lupa Art Installation featured various Philippine folklore creatures such as kapre, aswang, nuno sa punso, tikbalang, diwata, and manananggal, complemented with TJ Ramos sound designs.
Kapre (Photo Courtesy: Rodel Valiente)
Each of the creatures was crafted with welded steel, fiberglass, ropes, and lanterns with LED lights by Kapampangan lantern makers, headed by Arvin Bondoc Quiwa.
Imao shared with a local news outlet that it is the right time to promote our culture through folklore creatures.
“With themes like climate change and cultural promotion, it’s perfect for us to bring these creatures from folklore and mythologies to the forefront,” he said.
Often presented in films and literature as frightening and eerie, Imao believes these creatures also deserve to be reimagined.
“Definitely, we will not become a horror park. We will recreate these creatures so that they will appear fun to look at and, at the same time, demystify them in the context of some stories,” he explained.
Adding that humans live together with the unknown, “We are not the only inhabitants of our environment; we share it with beings we don’t know. Our ancestors remind us that we must take good care of our environment or else our tanod-lupa will come out,” he said.
The said art installations were appreciated by the netizens, who expressed their excitement to visit the Cultural Center of the Philippines to personally see the outstanding work of the Filipino artist.
Photo Credit: Rodel Valiente
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