Imao’s memorial on UP campus becomes protest art | Inquirer News

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Boycott Toym Imao’s towering bamboo and chair barricades to commemorate the Diliman Commune in 1971 suddenly became a powerful symbol of the Philippine University’s resistance to neoliberal siege, as the country abolished the convention with the Ministry of Defense in 1989. . --Neo Jesus Orbetta

Manila, Philippines — The history of the University of the Philippines (UP) is full of encounters, but not the kind of underground warfare that the military believes is boiling in its multi-layered walls.

Just as the Diliman Commune in 1971 made UP a reputation for being a self-sufficient republic, these "en" are actually resistance actions against national forces trying to reduce the security space of UP.

This is what the famous sculptor and painter Toym Imao thought of when he created "engKWENTrO", a two-part art installation project to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the student movement, which prompted people to take action against the dictator Ferdinand Marcos After decades of resistance.

The first and larger one, "Barikada" formed two towering bamboo and chair barricades along Quezon Hall. These two communes are the ground zero and the seat of UP's power. It symbolizes the same chair and desk barricade that protested against the same chair and desk that students set up 50 years ago to prohibit students from entering the campus.

On the night they finished setting up roadblocks, Imao learned that Defense Minister Delfin Lorenzana unilaterally abolished the 1989 UP-DND (Ministry of Defense) agreement, which protected the university from the national army. For 30 years.

Overnight, his roadblock became a powerful symbol of UP's fierce resistance to what Imao called the latest siege of one of the democratic strongholds.

Imao said: "Therefore, the memorial hall was originally supposed to be a visual reminder of art, and the memorial became a form of protest art." "That was an incredible timing."

Imao pointed out that finding the parallelism between 1971 and 2021 is not difficult. In the past two years, the rise of authoritarian power has provided the Communist Party with a weapon for panic to prey on the enemy.

At that time, students broke into the street from the classroom, leading to a violent confrontation with the police.

However, even if there is no physical conflict now, the termination of the agreement still "defeats the entire paradigm of the classroom" as a refuge for freedom of thought.

When terminating the agreement, Lorenzana claimed that UP had become a hotbed for recruiting Communist rebels. Imao said: "But the reason why UP is inevitably branded is because it can accept all kinds of ideas, it may be fascists, it may be radical, militant or anything else."

"Its job is to equip students with the best analytical tools. How they will act to contribute to the country depends on them. But the country cannot decide how to best "serve the country."

This is why many people see the symbol of the second commune. However, Imao is not sure whether life will imitate his art.

He said: "This is the decision of (young people)." "If there is another Diliman commune, it may not even be physical. The world has changed tremendously, and there are already multiple platforms that can express the emotion of resistance. "

As always, Imao's own resistance is manifested in art and sculpture.

The two-part engKWENTrO is the latest work in his amazing collection of works depicting social conditions and national history. It is actually the second phase of a three-year project that aims to commemorate the three histories celebrating its 50th anniversary Events: First quarter storm (2020), Diliman commune (2021) and martial law (2022).

This year's Barikada is actually the successor to last year's "Nagbabadyang Unos" (The Coming Storm): a huge 60-foot-wide structure with a crown of thorns or floating barricades composed of spiked bamboo and converted chairs and classroom furniture.

Narrative Toym Imao hopes that his series of sculpture reliefs will be embedded in some upgraded class tables, desks and chairs. These narratives of the activities of the congress to the commune in 1971 will stimulate public discussion. --Neo Jesus Orbetta

Just before President Duterte announced the blockade of the pandemic throughout Luzon, it had enveloped the historical steps of the Palma Concert Hall for more than a month.

He said: "The purpose at the time was to remind people of Marcos's architectural despotism. This is the opportunity the government took during the pandemic to extend control to the entire country under the guise of containing the pandemic." It has a new meaning and has been re-associated."

The second work in engKWENTrO, "Muebles" (furniture), is a series of sculptural reliefs embedded in about 50 upgraded class tables, desks and chairs, representing the narrative of events leading to the commune in 1971.

These works will travel through the center of the student movement: Palma and Melchor Hall (concert hall), and Vinzons Plaza (wenzong square), and then rest in Barikada.

All chairs and tables used in these two artworks have been repurposed or condemned. Imao, a graduate and professor of the UP University College of Fine Arts, said that by taking them from the classroom environment to the street, these works become "a symbolic act of breaking through the four corners of the classroom."

Of course, Imao realized that his work could make him a crosshair of the government. The government’s red flag craze has marked his local college and organization UP Mountaineers as the forefront of Communist recruitment.

Several colleagues in the field of art like Carlos Palanca, winner and playwright Liza Magtoto, were also marked as New People’s Army recruits.

Imao said that selecting artists is not surprising, because their work “is easy to be (especially) misunderstood, especially if you don’t like this kind of free expression.”

He warned: "They see it as an attack on power." "But it's important to be honest. [I] owe it to my children, students, and university, which gave me the opportunity to be an enlightened person."

Imao "does not pretend that [his work] can solve all problems."

He said: "It can trigger words, it can also pierce emotions." "It's just my simple and humble contribution. It depends on how it will register with people. If they can move, that's fine. If not, we Will redouble our efforts and persuade in the next day and the next day thereafter." INQ


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