Mission Statement

This blog journals my quest of art, whether it is a piece of work that is inherent in nature or one created by artists known or unknown or that I created myself. During this search, I have come to appreciate the magnificence and generosity of God who in his infinite wisdom surrounded us with exquisiteness everyday...everywhere and inspired our human spirit to create beauty that feeds our bodies and souls. Come join me on my journey to find art through my travels and my own creative endeavors. Maraming salamat.

All rights to all posts and contents on this blog, including photos and artwork are reserved by jojo sabalvaro tan.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Kalinga Madonna and Child Painting

Kalinga Madonna and Child 2015
Watercolor on 140# cold press Arches watercolor paper
by jojo sabalvaro tan

While my nephew, who was born and raised in the United States, was on vacation in Nevada he met a girl from Kalinga province of the Philippines who lives in Canada. They fell in love, married and now they have a beautiful baby girl. During the time I was in the Philippines, it would be unlikely that a person from Manila would meet a person from Kalinga unless they are both studying in Manila. Kalinga is after all a more than 12 hours drive from Manila and a difficult and arduous journey. Today, with the Filipino diaspora, anything is possible. With their baby who has Kalinga blood running through her, among others,  I am so proud to now have a leaf in our family tree that can trace back its roots to one of the most indigenous people of the Philippines, the Kalingas, who are said to have arrived in the Philippines around 5000BC to 3500BC in the second wave of human migration to the Philippines.

Since the beginning of Christianity, Mary and Jesus were depicted based on the ethnicity of the painter or place of worship. So you would find images of Mary and Jesus as  Italian, French, African, Greek, Armenian, Chinese, Spanish or Filipino. In honor of the birth of our new grandniece, I decided to paint the Madonna and Child inspired by the Kalinga culture (above).  I love ethnic and indigenous woven cloth and have been collecting them during my travels over the years (see my previous blog  For The Love of Fabrics ). I have some from the Kalinga province which I used as reference for the cloth on Mary and Jesus. This is called a tuwali - cloth, shawl or blanket used for carrying children who are strapped on the back or chest area.  I also set Mary and Jesus against the backdrop of the rice terraces. I love the way this painting turned out due to its graphic style. It is, as of now, the leading contender for our 2015 Christmas card image.

Kalinga Madonna and Child 2015
Work in progress
by jojo sabalvaro tan

Kalinga is in the Cordillera mountain region of the Philippines. They have been able to preserve their culture due to the mountainous terrain in and around their settlement (mostly in protected valleys along the Chico River)  making their area quite inaccessible to conquerors such as the Spaniards, Americans and Japanese. Kalingas are fiercely protective of their territory and are known for their warrior culture.  Many believe that the name Kalinga  is derived from the tribe's head hunting ways, a defensive practice they used to exact revenge against their enemies and since abandoned at the beginning of the 20th century.   Kalingas are prolific rice terraces builders and are mainly rice farmers. They are also skilled cloth weavers, potters, basket weavers, metal smiths, woodcarvers and tattoo artists.

Photo from:  paraisophilippines.com
Young Kalinga women in loom woven attire, pottery urns and metal and bead jewelry

According to the article on Exploring Kalinga Province from http://vigattintourism.com , here are the must-see destinations in Kalinga:

"The Sungang View Point is one the best places that can be found in the province of Kalinga. The area is surrounded with various mountains that hold a fantastic and majestic view, such as Tanudan Mountain, Tinglayan Mountain, Lubuangan Mountain, and Tabuk Mountain. When you are on the summit, you can clearly spot the amazing rice terraces made by the native people in the province. Aside from that, you can also see the entire expanse of the villages, including the valleys located near in the area. Mountaintops are the also ideal places where you can spot the charming and striking  view of Dananao and Tulgao Rice Terraces.
The Tanudan Mountain is one of the views that can be seen at Sungang View Point. This mountain is also known as the “Sleeping Beauty Mountain”. It is called Sleeping Mountain because the shape of the northern ridge looks like a sleeping woman. The mountain has a lot of names, such as Mount Patukan, Mount Mating-oy Dinayao, and Mount Mantingoy.

The province also boasts of its fascinating caves, lakes, and springs. Buaya Cave is one of the famous caves in Kalinga where a different view of stalactites and stalagmites are found."

Kalinga mountain views and rice terraces
Photo by Edgar Alan Zeta-Yap
from http://vigattintourism.com

Napiye un al-algaw
(Kalinga greeting)

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jojo. Do you sell copies of this print anywhere? I'd be curious about purchasing if so...

    Thank you!