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Native Song
Place of Origin: Philippines
Date: 1999
Materials: Oil on canvas with mixed media and color process prints on paper
Dimensions: H. 114 3/4 in x W. 96 in, H. 291.5 cm x W. 243.8 cm
Credit Line: Gift of Malou Babilonia
Department: Southeast Asian Art
Collection: Painting
Object Number: 2007.80
On Display: Yes
Location: Tateuchi Thematic Gallery

Description

Label:

If I am honest, I am rebelling against my own indifference. I am rebelling against the idea that the world is the way it should be and there is nothing we can do about it. . . . But we have got to follow through on our ideals or we betray something at the heart of who we are.
—Santiago Bose

Two katipuneros, members of a clandestine Philippine revolutionary society that was founded in the late 1800s to overthrow the Spanish colonial government, dominate the center of this artwork. Framing the photograph are the covers of scores for popular music, probably dating from the 1930s or ’40s. And superimposed on the central photograph, Santiago Bose has painted a crucifix, a sun symbol, and a hand with a knife. Initials and mysterious letters and words are written across the painted images. These may be references to anting-anting (folk amulets), which Bose often included in his artworks. Bose noted that rebel forces wore these amulets to protect them from the superior weaponry of the Spanish. They could also be seen as a challenge to institutional Catholicism through the promulgation of folk religion and precolonial belief systems.

Bose’s work often illustrated his keen awareness of the power of photography and its use in subjugating the colonized. The photo Bose uses here was likely taken by a Spanish soldier; a few years later the Americans documented the Philippine-American War with hundreds of images. By enlarging the snapshot and presenting it on a monumental scale, Bose emphasizes the heroism of the simply clad rebel soldiers. A common preoccupation of Bose’s multimedia works is the history of the Philippines, especially the complex relationships between colonial and indigenous cultures. Bose is himself considered a rebel who turned his back on commercialism in the art market and always advocated for the marginalized.


More Information

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

If I am honest, I am rebelling against my own indifference. I am rebelling against the idea that the world is the way it should be and there is nothing we can do about it. . . . But we have got to follow through on our ideals or we betray something at the heart of who we are.
—Santiago Bose

Two katipuneros, members of a clandestine Philippine revolutionary society that was founded in the late 1800s to overthrow the Spanish colonial government, dominate the center of this artwork. Framing the photograph are the covers of scores for popular music, probably dating from the 1930s or ’40s. And superimposed on the central photograph, Santiago Bose has painted a crucifix, a sun symbol, and a hand with a knife. Initials and mysterious letters and words are written across the painted images. These may be references to anting-anting (folk amulets), which Bose often included in his artworks. Bose noted that rebel forces wore these amulets to protect them from the superior weaponry of the Spanish. They could also be seen as a challenge to institutional Catholicism through the promulgation of folk religion and precolonial belief systems.

Bose’s work often illustrated his keen awareness of the power of photography and its use in subjugating the colonized. The photo Bose uses here was likely taken by a Spanish soldier; a few years later the Americans documented the Philippine-American War with hundreds of images. By enlarging the snapshot and presenting it on a monumental scale, Bose emphasizes the heroism of the simply clad rebel soldiers. A common preoccupation of Bose’s multimedia works is the history of the Philippines, especially the complex relationships between colonial and indigenous cultures. Bose is himself considered a rebel who turned his back on commercialism in the art market and always advocated for the marginalized.


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