The work started from the story behind the Masskara festival: a symbol of Negros’ positive and colorful response during a time of crisis. The sugar market reached a low point, the MV Don Juan sank, and so the Masskara festival was born to uplift the spirits of the Negrenses. This dark story behind the lively Masskara festival inspired the amalgamation of contrasting yet coexisting elements of the work: the inevitable symbiosis of sugarcane and the pests, the rum barrels and glasses representing the production of succulent rum, the beautiful yet endangered species of Negros, and the ornate, smiling, ‘moustached’ Masskaras (in honor of Negros’ unsung hero, Papa Isio) that conceal the difficult past.
The piece adopts a straightforward taxonomic format of natural history prints and illustrations: encouraging comparison among subjects, and framing the dualities that exist in Sugarlandia, the spiritual home of Don Papa rum‐‐‐ putting into visual form the triumphs over trials.
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