Visual Folklores: Tales of the Negrense
- 1 April 2023
The beauty of folk literature lies in its ability to evolve and transform over time. What may start as a simple explanation to the mysteries of nature can become a complex and fantastical tale at the tail of being passed down from one generation to another. Folk tales, legends, and myths are dynamic mirrors of culture and adaptable in their ability to be retold in many forms.
Such is the beauty of ‘Spotlighting the Sugilanon,’ a Salcedo Private View exhibit where eight artists from Negros Occidental reflect on the province’s rich oral tradition of sugilanon. A Hiligaynon word, sugilanon means stories that are shared orally among people across generations. Folk literature – folktales, legends, myths – are sugilanon. They narrate tales of the old: about gods and goddesses, heroes, the origin of things, and many more.
But they are never just stories, according to Georgina Luisa O. Jocson of Off Center Creative Initiatives in her curatorial statement for the exhibition. Sugilanon are also conduits of cultural values, beliefs, and worldviews across generations and societies. They serve as a rich repository of a society’s collective wisdom and belief system.
This exhibit draws from folktales anthologized in “Mga Sugilanon Sang Negros,” collected and translated by cultural-historian and National Book Awards recipient Ma. Cecilia Locsin-Nava, Ph.D. The tales were chosen for their suitability for young readers – entertaining yet instructive, imparting valuable life lessons while introducing its darker realities. Jocson then selected stories about Negros Occidental for the exhibition. Not surprisingly, the artists – born and bred in the province – are familiar with these tales from their childhood.
These eight artists revisit and reinterpret these childhood stories – refracted through the prism of their unique experiences, observations, and contemplations as clear-eyed adults living in present-day Negros. The artworks produced offer a glimpse into the personal narratives of these artists, as they deftly respond to the elements of each folktale that strike a chord with them the most.
What, then, do they see now?
The artworks in this exhibition come from layers of transmission and interpretation – stories that evolved through time and transference; selected and translated in print; which were read and reexamined by the artist through their own lenses. They are visual retellings that keep these tales alive.
Nuanced. Dynamic. Transformative. – these are quintessential to what keeps these intangible cultural heritage alive and what makes art, art.
Salcedo Private View’s Spotlighting the Sugilanon exhibition runs until April 20, 2023 (daily except Sunday and Monday; and Maundy Thursday-Black Saturday). Visit the main gallery of Salcedo Auctions for in-person previews at NEX Tower, 6786 Ayala Avenue, Makati City.
For inquiries, phone +639175912191 | +63 9171075581 or email [email protected]