Monday, November 3, 2008

Saulog's Tipanan

I have been writing about Simon Saulog since the 80s as he requested me to write his biography. Since his death in 1995, I have continued the search for his undocumented works like I was doing a lifelong endeavor.

Just recently, I had the chance to meet Makati Medical Center President and Medical Director Dr. Raul Fores, whose name I clearly recalled was mentioned by Saulog during one of my frequent visits to his old home in Imus, Cavite. The information I got back then in the late 80s was hazy and thanks to Dr. Gabby Gabriel, Program Director of the Emergency Medicine Residency Training Program of the Makati Medical Center and my former classmate in elementary ( both of us were into arts), I finally documented “Tipanan”.

“Tipanan”, literally “Meeting Place”, was actually a gift from the Enriqueta A. Castañeda family to Dr. Fores. The Castañeda family had very strong ties with Saulog as evidenced by the myriad Saulog paintings among its family members.

Saulog painted “Tipanan” in 1970. Based on the bio essay which DLSU-Dasmariñas helped me published on CD, Saulog painted it at a time the conservative school suffered a sharp decline as modernism started to emerge. It was also a time when the art circle saw the rise of abstract/non-representational genre as the most acceptable form of painting (annotations from my friend, Alain Austria).
Moreover, it was a time when Saulog left the asphalt jungle and stayed away from the intrigues of Manila’s art circle and put up shop in his hometown, Imus.

Saulog rediscovered his then rustic hometown. As such, he created more masterpieces that convey a new-found vigor. “Tipanan”, reflecting the Saulog stroke that transcends the blending of colors to depict moods and dramatic lighting, is a story of love, of security, and beauty found in life. It is an anecdote painting, revolving around a narrative that he romanticized through dramatic pose of his two human subjects, the lovers.

The meeting with Dr. Raul Fores and his secretary, Gloria Cerojano, a townmate of Saulog, was fruitful. Gabby and I learned of more people to talk to about undocumented Saulog works outside the Cavite circle...

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