Often associated with rural scenes exuding peace and tranquility, the Philippines’ foremost painter Fernando Amorsolo mastered the many glimpses of Filipino provincial life. He faithfully captured the serene milieus, to include seasons of planting and harvesting, pauses for thanksgivings and prayers and celebrations of milestones — from countryside sunrises to sunsets.
Still, he explored beyond. The brushstrokes of the first National Artist for Visual Arts — Painting have likewise touched upon the ugliness of war, fear and anxiety, hunger, disease, suffering, pain and sorrow and property damages and the irreplaceable loss of lives.
One such painting is The Maid of Bataan, a 1942 oil on canvas 34.5 x 25.25-inch wonder that depicts the unfortunate trauma of a woman as she defeatedly kneels before a fallen soldier, completely in a daze as she helplessly looks up to the blazing sky.
This masterpiece, which now occupies a place of honor at the University of the Philippines — Diliman Main Library, laments the ravages and repercussions of the harsh war. Scholars surmise this served as Amorsolo’s silent protest against the Fall of Bataan and the Japanese invaders of World War II.
In commemoration of Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor), this testimony has been animated by 26-year-old video editor and motion graphic artist Mark Cañega, a De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB) AB Animation alumnus.
A breath of life into the ethereal maiden has given her a clear expression of despair over the scene around her, as her fingers desperately clutch onto her white bandana. The wind blows through her skirt and the remnants of the surrounding hellish red and dark inferno.
The heartbreaking 60-second clip was set to the mournful acoustic tune of “Kay Lungkot Nitong Hating-Gabi” by Ruben Tagalog.