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Adorno Ng Lansangan (Adornment of the Street)
Place of Origin: Philippines
Date: 1975
Materials: Acrylic on canvas
Dimensions: H. 17 1/8 in x W. 14 1/8 in, H. 43.7 cm x W. 35.9 cm (image)
Credit Line: Gift of Nancy G. Freeman
Department: Southeast Asian Art
Collection: Painting
Object Number: F2010.34.4
On Display: Yes
Location: Tateuchi Thematic Gallery

Description

Label:

Throughout his career Pablo Baen Santos has continually returned to the themes of the struggling working class and the urban poor in his painting. Using art to speak out against social injustice, he was one of the Social Realists who protested the Marcos regime and its totalitarian decree of martial law. In this dark and ambiguous painting, a body lies on the ground, limbs strewn. Is it male or female, adult or child, alive or dead? The figure is stripped of identity and made universal. White brushstrokes accenting the torso and legs spotlight the prone figure against a sharp, grey surface. The ironic title, Adorno Ng Lansangan (Adornment of the Street), suggests both the prevalence of poverty in the city and a rebuke of society’s blindness to it. 3

In the 1970s a generation of artists turned away from the idealized depictions of sunlit rural farmers that had become so popular through the works of Fernando Amorsolo. They sought instead to portray the harsh realities of life in the city. According to Santos, “I saw the developments of the ’70s as realities that stare at the artist’s conscience, urging to be painted on canvas: the hand of the oppressor striking the masses and the masses fighting back. But painting, on the other hand, also perfumed my dream of a just society.”


More Information

Exhibition History: "Philippine Art: Collecting Art, Collecting Memories", Asian Art Museum, 7/14/2017 - 3/11/2018
Label:

Throughout his career Pablo Baen Santos has continually returned to the themes of the struggling working class and the urban poor in his painting. Using art to speak out against social injustice, he was one of the Social Realists who protested the Marcos regime and its totalitarian decree of martial law. In this dark and ambiguous painting, a body lies on the ground, limbs strewn. Is it male or female, adult or child, alive or dead? The figure is stripped of identity and made universal. White brushstrokes accenting the torso and legs spotlight the prone figure against a sharp, grey surface. The ironic title, Adorno Ng Lansangan (Adornment of the Street), suggests both the prevalence of poverty in the city and a rebuke of society’s blindness to it. 3

In the 1970s a generation of artists turned away from the idealized depictions of sunlit rural farmers that had become so popular through the works of Fernando Amorsolo. They sought instead to portray the harsh realities of life in the city. According to Santos, “I saw the developments of the ’70s as realities that stare at the artist’s conscience, urging to be painted on canvas: the hand of the oppressor striking the masses and the masses fighting back. But painting, on the other hand, also perfumed my dream of a just society.”


Exhibition History: "Philippine Art: Collecting Art, Collecting Memories", Asian Art Museum, 7/14/2017 - 3/11/2018