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.






Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Ifugao Painting Collection - Talungko Studies

Talungko studies 2015
Watercolor on Moleskine watercolor sketchbook
by jojo sabalvaro tan


Ok,  I am still obsessed with the indigenous people of the Philippines, so I continue to crank out painting after painting of the Ifugaos from the Cordillera Mountain Region with emphasis on their woven fabrics which I love. These are my latest and I am calling them my Talungko Studies since all the women are sitting on the ground with their arms crossed over their upraised knees in position referred to in Tagalog as atalungko (squatting).  It seems like this is the Ifugao's favorite sitting position since many strike this pose when they are resting, eating, smoking, playing a musical instrument, gossiping or just plain hanging around watching the world go by.  The women in the painting's pose reminnd me of the wood or stone carved deities that are called anitos, which are mostly depicted in the same squatting position. One of my relatives had  one at their house. I do not know how it got there, a gift or souvenir from travels to the Cordilleras perhaps. But I remember it since the dark wooden statue scared me when I was younger but as I grew older and learned more about anitos, I started to appreciate its cultural significance and artistic merits. The anitos are household deities that may represent deceased ancestors, nature spirits or dryads. The ancient Filipinos used these statues to ask for favors, guidance and protection. I am not sure if they are still in use today for worship since many in the Cordilleras have been converted to Catholicism.  Today these statues are prized by collectors and displayed in homes as works of art. I think they go very well with any décor. They are very traditional but at the same time very modern.
An anito statue



Below are my studies. No more than quick practice sketches on my sketchbook, I had so much fun painting these ladies, so much so that they have become "virtual" friends. As I worked on these paintings, I thought about and imagined what kind of life they have had. Their faces leathered and lined with deep creases inform me of their hardiness, determination  and strong will and yet behind the eyes there are a variety of emotions - sadness, worry, amusement, determination, wonder, even despair but above all I see their love for their land. In the Cordilleras, women transplant the rice from the seed beds to the fields since it is believed their fertility in child bearing leads to a richer and more abundant harvest.

I am told there are still areas in the Cordilleras where clothing and headdresses like the ones shown in my paintings are still worn but, most of the women now wear western-style clothing for everyday. For the most part, you will see the Ifugao in these attire/costume at a festival, special occasion or for show for the tourist trade. Much is being done for the preservation of their culture but westernization is quickly taking over. I really hope that the Philippine government make the preservation and retention of the culture, heritage and mores of the indigenous people a priority.

These sketches are very small, about 4.5" x 3". Maybe after doing these studies, I will be temporarily rid of my obsession with the people of the Cordilleras and jump into other projects or clean the house. Tough decision... Not!!!! The dust bunnies just will have to wait.





Talungko study #1 2015
Watercolor
by jojo sabalvaro tan

Talungko study #4 2015
Watercolor
by jojo sabalvaro tan






Talungko Study #5 2015
Watercolor
by jojo sabalvaro tan


Talungko study #2 2015
Watercolor
by jojo sabalvaro tan


Talungko study #3 2015
Watercolor
by jojo sabalvaro tan



Talungko study #6 2015
Watercolor
by jojo sabalvaro tan


Steps from start to finish
Talungko Study #6, 2015
Watercolor
by jojo sabalvaro tan

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Here is a very nice film on YouTube from Living Asia Channel about the Ifugao people
 

 





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