De Lima asks Senate to honor late National Artist Abueva

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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima today filed a Senate resolution seeking to honor late National Artist for Sculpture Napoleon Abueva for his incomparable influence to the growth of Philippine Arts.

De Lima filed Senate Resolution (SR) No. 656 days after the demise of Abueva last February 16 at the age of 88.

“The Senate must give honor to the late Napoleon Abueva for his unparalleled contribution to the development of Philippine arts and for giving pride and honor to the Filipino nation for his outstanding works,” she said.

Napoleon Abueva, dubbed as the Father of Modern Philippine Sculpture, was named National Artist of the Philippines for Visual Arts, and was the youngest recipient of the prestigious award at the age of 46.

The Senator from Bicol noted that Abueva was acclaimed for his diversity in style and his skill in utilizing different local and indigenous materials such as molave, acacia, ipil and kamagong to create artworks replete with his nationalistic sensibility.

Among Abueva’s major works, De Lima listed, include Kaganapan (1953), Kiss of Judas (1955), Thirty Pieces of Silver, The Transfiguration (1979), Eternal Garden Memorial Park, UP Gateway (1967), Nine Muses (1994), UP Faculty Center, Sunburst (1994)-Peninsula Manila Hotel, among others.

In the 1950’s when Philippine arts was dominated by Greek-inspired sculpture, De Lima also recalled that Abueva broke ground by creating “Halik,” an abstract work in the thre-dimensional form, winning second place in the Art Association of the Philippines of 1951

De Lima commended how, despite the interruption in his craft when Abueva was imprisoned and tortured during the World War II, “he continued to pursue his interest through scholarships.”

“Abueva’s dedication, hardwork and professional excellence are not only commendable but are also worth-emulating,” she said.

Abueva was given a scholarship in the University of the Philippines (UP) College of Fine Arts and in the United States where he pursued advanced studies, culminating in a stint at Harvard University in 1956. Born on January 26 1930 in Tagbilaran, Bohol, Abueva was laid to rest at the Libingan ng mga Bayani on Feb. 24.

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