Living art from death’s box | SunStar

Living art from death’s box

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Living art from death’s box

Sunday, October 30, 2016

CEBU. Eliezar “Jun” Tupas turns old coffins from their family business’s stockroom into furniture and art pieces, calling some of his work “coffinitures.” His works atract young clients who, he said, don’t mind its association with death. (Arni Aclao)

FOR many, a casket is often a symbol of dread and a reminder that death will always come.

But for Eliezar “Jun” Tupas Jr., a casket is a canvass on which works of art emerge.

Once you enter the Tupas Funeral Services office in Carcar City, you will first notice various pieces of art, including furniture, made from unused caskets.

Tupas told Sun.Star Cebu that he first started making “art caskets” five years ago.

While clearing some old stuff in their office, Tupas noticed that there were so many unused caskets being kept there.

Tupas didn’t want to throw them away so he tried to find a way to make them useful.

Thus, Tupas’ ventured into “art caskets” and “coffinitures” began.

With the help of some of workers, Tupas converted some of the unused wooden caskets and turned them into beautiful sets of furniture.

At his office, he was able to convert child-sized coffins into stools, while adult-sized coffins into rocking chairs, tables, sofas and even, makeshift chandeliers.

Every part of the unused coffin is never wasted, Tupas said.

He also decided to collaborate with Eric Almadin, a painter based in Talisay City, to convert coffins into large-scale murals.

His first collaboration with Almadin was a steel, adult-sized casket painted with Michaelangelo’s Creation of Adam.

Tupas’s recent collaboration with Almadin is a green casket with the painting of Archbishop Teofilo Camomot on the cover.

Tupas commissioned Almadin to paint Camomot to give tribute to the late Cebuano clergyman who is being groomed for sainthood.

But while younger visitors often visit his shop to admire his art caskets and coffinitures, Tupas lamented that not all accept his venture.

“Naa gyuy mga tawo nga mahadlok gihapon makakita ug lungon. Para nila, ang lungon man gud kay gikahadlokan kay ni-associate man siya sa kamatayon. Pero naay uban, labi na ning batan-on, nga malingaw sila magtan-aw sa among gipanghimo (Some are still afraid of coffins. For the, the coffin is an object of fear because it’s associated to death. But some, especially young ones, reall enjoy what we’re doing),” Tupas said.

Tupas plans to add more pieces to his shop that will help bring more people.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 31, 2016.

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