Group uses art to keep Bulacan heritage alive
CITY OF MALOLOS—Through paint and brushes, a group of artists keeps the heritage and history of Bulacan province alive and preserved on canvases.
Lakan Sining ng Bulacan (Lakan Sining) was formed in the 1980s when local artists, some of them working in Metro Manila, boarded a bus and went around Bulacan to visit historical places and draw inspiration from these.
Heritage structures and houses where Philippine heroes stayed were some of the places the artists visited and depicted in their art.
Today, Lakan Sining has 50 members who continue stroking their brushes for art and history.
Rene Salamat, known as Taping Salamat in the local art community, said he was inspired and mentored by one of the first members of Lakan Sining, Jose Marasigan. He said Marasigan guided him as he tried charcoal drawing until he experimented on oil painting.
Salamat, 48, said his hometown of Paombong, its fishing culture and everyday life are his inspirations.
“You follow what your heart desires. To me, color is infinite. That’s the beauty of being an artist,” he said.
Rex Tatlonghari, another Lakan Sining member from the City of Malolos, said he wants his paintings to open minds and touch hearts.
“I want to inspire and express my feelings. If the viewer pauses and is pushed to think, then I can say that my art has succeeded. My art wants to convey something deeper and I want it to have a lasting impact on the viewer,” he said.
The iconic Barasoain Church, where the Malolos Congress convened and approved the Malolos Constitution, is one of Tatlonghari’s favorite subjects. He has painted the church a number of times—in different angles and always with a message.
“It is important that your art conveys a message,” he said.
One of his paintings featured the Barasoain Church with a rose, its stem shaped like an arrow. “The arrow is a symbol of peace and freedom. I wanted to depict that while we had to experience war, this was because we needed to attain peace,” he said.
Lakan Sining member Nilo Badajos, 50, earns enough from his art to feed his family.
Badajos grew up watching Bulacan painters do their work beside the riverbanks in Barangay San Pascual in Hagonoy town. But it was only in 1985 that he became serious in painting.
The Garden City in Guiguinto town is Badajos’ favorite subject. Badajos also teaches children how to paint.
Another member of the group, Danny Pangan, 62, from San Rafael town, is known for his 3D paintings.
Pangan has exhibited works in the United States, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Hong Kong.
“Filipinos abroad miss home when they see my paintings. They remember their former lives in the Philippines,” he said.
Pangan loves to paint old churches, old houses and local scenes.
“We should depict culture and heritage. We should project what is beautiful in our country,” he said.
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