"The Spiritual Landscape of Papa Isio"

"The Spiritual Landscape of Papa Isio" (2016)

Riel Hilario
Riel Hilario
4x6 Mixed Media On Canvas
Grand Prize Winner


“My work depicts the hero’s unique ideology that incorporates syncretic religiosity, belief in amulets and homage to indigenous nature guides.”

“The main figures of Papa Isio are located in a niche, suggestive of the appropriation of Catholic imagery in the definition of his ‘papacy’. Behind him are Arsenio Lacson (a former collaborator and Negrense liberator), his muse (a woman representing a diwata/nature spirit), and Jose Rizal (Filipino national hero and Papa Isio’s spiritual guide). In the foreground are images that symbolise his goals and attempts: a burning church with prostate friars representing his desire to cleanse Negros of Spanish presence and false religiosity; a burning Mt. Kanlaon as a sign and omen of his power base; and a Trojan Horse with captive American soldiers suggestive of his desire to round up American imperialism.”

The overall composition also evokes an Ouija board. It is “a playful reference to ‘speaking with the spirits’,” according to Hilario. “It also pays homage to another Negrense icon, The Angry Christ by Alfonso Ossorio, which is an empathic representation of a justice-seeking Savior. By slightly equating Don Papa to Ossorio’s Christ, I seek to establish the spirit of judicious power that fuels both to action and form.”

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