A walk-through of Philippine society

Photographs by andrea andres for the daily tribune

Times have changed, especially in the midst of a pandemic, but artist Imelda Cajipe Endaya captures our fervent collective memories in her artworks.

The Cultural Center of the Philippines presents Imelda Cajipe Endaya: Pagtutol at Pag-asa, a retrospective. The exhibit navigates Endaya’s works from the 1960s to the present, making this the first full-length retrospective of her 200+ artworks and archival materials of her career as an artist.

Born in 1949, Imelda Cajipe Endaya, or Meps, made a long list of titles for herself — from being a multidisciplinary artist, curator, author, activist, and founding president of a women artists movement, Kababaihan sa Sining at Bagong Sibol na Kamalayan.

She received recognition in the Asia-Pacific for a singular Filipina visual language that is focused on the possibilities of feminist art and was an awardee of the CCP Thirteen Artists Award in 1990 and the Centennial Honors for the Arts in 1999.

‘Sangla’ (1985).

Her artworks tackle democracy, national identity, social struggles, gender, race, environment, migration, and globalization. Endaya is committed to seeking social truth and her works are heavily influenced by history.

“Nagbabago ako in reaction to the changes of our time. Kung anong nagbabago sa panahon, ‘yun ang kinokomentaryohan ko,” Endaya told the Daily Tribune.

The exhibit showcases what Endaya has seen in the past few decades, both in Philippine society and Filipino situations abroad.

Particularly striking in Endaya’s works is her unique multidisciplinary format of artworks; she maximizes the spectrum of art by exceeding beyond one medium. From printmaking and painting, she plays with collagraphs, serigraphs, and etchings. But her technique approaches differ as she also collaborates her artworks with collage, resist-dyeing, and embossing.

“Yung mga materyal na ginagamit ko (ay) kung anong available sa panahon na ‘yun gagamitin ko kasama na don ung reyalidad na pang
araw-araw,” said Endaya.

A distinct element of Endaya’s work is her utilization of different kinds of textile. She reveals that some of them were either she inherited from her mother or old laces and fabrics that she kept.

Photograph by andrea andres for the Daily Tribune and courtesy of Metropolitan Museum Manila
‘Kapatiran ng Lakambining may Bahay redact.’

Multiple roles

Opening the doors of the Bulwagang Juan Luna, the retrospective welcomes the audience with the remake of her 1998 installation of Kapatiran ng Lakambining may Bahay redact.

From the excerpt of her description, it depicts a strong call for women’s recognition, “The sisterhood of brave women, whether historically acclaimed or unknown but equally heroic, who struggle for our country’s freedom and independence.”

Endaya said that today, there’s progress for equality and those women who fought to have this status in society were not in vain, but she emphasizes that there is a lot more to do.

One of her sawali collections, Package Deal, showed her style as a multidisciplinary artist by using textiles, random objects, and paint. The work, dated 1985, was created during the Martial Law era: “The 80s was the time of popular rage against a violent dictatorship that kept its citizens in a feudal bondage of ignorance and poverty.”

‘Pasyong-Bayan’ (1983).

As an exceptional artist who centers her pieces for social truth, she admitted, “Yung sining wala namang nalulutas na problema pero maaaring magpukaw ng isip, magkaroon ng konsensya (na) maghanap ng katotohanan at kumilos para sa kabutihan ng kapwa (Art cannot solve problems but it can awaken the mind, develop conscience, find truth and act for the good of all).”

For her, it is a challenge to unveil the truth because people can be easily influenced and deceived. Out of her hundreds of works, Endaya wanted to present one of her earliest creations in the 80s, the Pasyong Bayan, to represent today’s struggle.

“Ang sabi nga eh, ung sining tumatagal sa panahon kaya lang bakit ung problema ganun pa rin?”

Her message to all Filipino artists, “Tayo ay patuloy na lumikha para palabasin ang katotohanan. Magkaisa tayo magtulungan sa kapwa para sa social justice.”

Endaya, who made her artwork as a visual guide towards Philippine society and diversity of Filipino culture, is the last project in CCP main building before its temporary closure this year.

Her exhibit is open for public viewing every Tuesday to Sunday at 10 a.m to 6 p.m. until 4 December at CCP Bulwagang Juan Luna (Main Gallery).

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