Vibrant colors, enticing texture and diverse Mindanao features on canvas framed in exquisitely designed hardwood and illuminated by intricately carved ostrich eggs: The artworks, seemingly done by a lone artist, are in fact collaborative pieces by three disparate artists: painter and sculptor of gigantic monuments in Mindanao Ray Mudjahid Ponce Millan aka Kublai Millan, furniture designer Agi Pagkatipunan and sculptor Danny Rayos del Sol.
They were showcased in an exhibit titled “Mind, Body and Soul” at the 10th ManilArt fair held at SMX Convention Center in Taguig City this October.
Unity in diversity
Rayos del Sol of ostrich egg art fame is from Taguig City. Visiting Davao City early last year, he stayed at Ponce Suites owned by the Millans. The hotel was filled with Kublai’s artwork inside and outside. The artist is a “crazy genius,” thought Rayos del Sol, and wanted to meet him posthaste. A friend accompanied him to Kublai’s peculiar abode called the Agong House in Kapatagan, Davao del Sur, the home of Mt. Apo. But the owner was in Europe then. Rayos del Sol swore he would get the painter-sculptor collaborate with him and the “wood wizard” Agi Pagkatipunan for this year’s ManilArt.
The latter is from San Mateo, Rizal, who studied architecture and apprenticed with sculptor Jerry Araos and painter Fernando Seña. He uses salvaged and recycled hardwood to produce functional art.
Eight months before the 2018 ManilArt, the three artists met in Manila and decided to collaborate on pieces that will showcase their individual artistry but will be in harmony with each other. Millan had a request—that their collaborative pieces showcase the colors and textures of Mindanao.
And they did! We perceived in their work the vibrant and colorful costumes, the musicality in traditional instruments, the dance of animals and fish, the beauty of everyday life.
To Millan, painting is a respite from his “monumental” projects in Mindanao, around 10 a year, and the Visayas. Two giant works include “Kampilan ni Sultan Kudarat” in Maguindanao, and the “Risen Christ” in the Tagum City church.
Mind, body and soul
The exhibit pieces of the three artists were whimsical yet complex, mystical and engrossing. Rayos del Sol provided the (soul) to Millan’s (mind) and pasted intricately carved half ostrich eggs onto the canvas, complimenting them with patterns from the painting and illuminating them from within. Pagkatipunan completes the cycle by providing the body that framed the painting and the ostrich egg.
We are assured that as the three art forms melded into one, so did the friendship among the three artists.
Aside from the beautiful result of their artistic collaboration, are they making a statement in so doing? Millan summarized the experience in one word: respect. Respect for one another. He said, “All we need in Mindanao is respect, from whence comes understanding.”
Three hours into the gala night on Oct. 17, Rayos del Sol showed their guest, US Ambassador Sung Kim, around the exhibition hall. When he returned to their booth, his assistant excitedly told him, “Sir, the artworks are all sold out!”
Now, that is a perfect sign for more collaboration in the future. —CONTRIBUTED