Papo's Christendom

After Pacita Abad, another Filipino artist just passed away: Papo de Asis.

I don’t want my personal lack to be a deficiency of every one born in 1981 (and thereafter), but it can be observed how the rise of multimedia, beginning with the introduction of PC and MTV, both in 1981, and its dominion in the lives of many Filipinos, divorces us from the appreciation of art. Art demands time. Art asks us to stop, not for a while, and experience awareness from another plane and with a different intensity.

I unfortunately haven’t learned to stop. I used to belittle, a defense mechanism I guess, my own insecurity when it comes to familiarity with Filipino artists, especially visual artists. I did not find time to know them through their art. Their art remained foreign in my vocabulary, and so I couldn’t easily refer to them in my poetry. I denied their visions immortality in words. I failed to recognize a whole world of Filipino imaginings. This 2005, as part of personal resolutions, it shall all end.

In a statement in 1997, de Asis said: “Art is not a skill. This is an irrevocable fact . It is beyond form. It is the consciousness juxtaposed with feelings, thus become structured and created into form. These are the innate elements of art.” Stopping and experiencing de Papo’s art (ironically, through the intervention of the multimedia king, the internet), especially now after his death, gives me that consciousness and feeling, a sense of structure, cohesion even, particularly in what I sensed as the atrocity of religion in the context of colonization, in what for me is his best accessible painting over the web, Christendom.

After this, is he saved?