Mindanao colors and identity | SunStar

Mindanao colors and identity

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Mindanao colors and identity

Saturday, March 18, 2017

DAVAO. One of the series. (Paul Borromeo)

IT'S his 24th one-man show and one thing stood out: the colors. What is it that inspired this new series? I asked. An epiphany.

For this Davao artist who has made a real living out of his inspirations, Vic Secuya has enjoyed the patronage of art collectors here and abroad because of his muted tones that flow into an arabesque as one.

It may be flowers, it may be abstracts. That is Secuya, until the 24th one-man exhibit, the last day of which will be today, at the SM Lanang Premier Atrium. The inspiration, he said, came from Muslim banners.

"One time, our main street was filled with banners. Both side of the street. A fifty-meter stretch. A Muslim neighbor arrived from a pilgrimage from Saudi ba yon? They call hajj," he said.

"Passing thru the street with banners of primary colors, I had an epiphany of some sorts. This is Mindanao.... Colors!" The colors affected him so much, he said, and the realization that came with it such that he was still emotional even as we were merely conversing through Messenger.

"I've been trained in the western perspective. Western art history, classical perspective, etc. I didn't know I was imprisoned in that mindset. I've restrained myself from using primary colors and all, because of my western education and the influence of my artist friends in manila. I've been stopping myself from bright colors for years. It's only now that I'm released from that mold. I feel so free," he added.

"After three days, the neighbor took the banners out, but our street. Is never the same again. I was never the same again. I found my identity. I am a Dabawenyo and a Mindanaowan. I feel so certain of it. While writing this, I'm crying because ive gone to so many places to search for my identity as an artist, only to find it here in my hometown," he said.

He said that the response to his exhibit was also overwhelming such that it affirmed his personal discovery of Mindanao colors as a common ground of Dabawenyos' visual identity. There were several patrons from Manila, he said, one even just saw the artworks shared on social media and reserved one.

"They were also blown away by the colors, as well as the performances of Popong (Landero), Maree (Cantaoi-Cayas), ang the percussionists from Tagum. One said: mas cultured daw ang Davao. Another said: Bakit walang ganitong opening of a show in Manila. Another comment: meron pala world-class show sa Mindanao? Funny, but I was so touched," he said.

Secuya referred to a poem by T.S. Elliot about leaving and returning to one's own town, "East Coker" from The Four Quartets, the East Coker. East Coker is said to be where Eliot's ancestors came from, a tiny village in England. The poet's ashes were housed at a church in this village.

-o0o-

"Dawn points, and another day
"Prepares for heat and silence. Out at sea the dawn wind
"Wrinkles and slides. I am here
"Or there, or elsewhere. In my beginning."

(from East Coker, T.S. Eliot)

-o0o-

"Fyi: You're the first person I'm sharing this narrative. I don't know why I failed to share this during the opening. 'Di ko naisip. I'm glad you asked. It's helping me process a very important landmark in my 60 years of existence," Secuya wrote in closing.

In this exhibit, the artist not only shared his epiphany about his real identity as an artist, but also the triumphs that recently happened in his life. Indeed, in art, one releases the soul.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 18, 2017.

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