Cultural Center of the Philippines



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Photo from the artist

(Structure) / 1990 / Oil on canvas / 108 x 162 cm / Artist: Antipas Delotavo / Emmeline QuiΓ±o collection

The artist Delotavo belongs to the social realists who create art of sociopolitical meaning. A large body of his realist work consists of portraits of laborers and the urban poor; he also did a series of construction workers engaged in building the edifices of the Marcos period.

In this painting, there are also workers putting up a structure; however, it is important to note that this was one of the major works of the social realists painted after the Marcos regime and during the Aquino administration. Here the team of workers, done with a consummate realism of detail and scale verging on trompe l’oeil, are busy putting up a large billboard image consisting of several panels, some still unfinished and not yet in their proper sequence. Upon closer look, it is a mammoth head of former president Marcos that they are raising up, although the EDSA Revolt had earlier removed him from power. One of the people’s demands in the post-EDSA period was for the new government to dismantle the Marcos political structures, but here, ironically enough, his image is seen restored to its former dominance. This stemmed from the perception that the Corazon Aquino government, while it showed a progressive promise at the start, moved increasingly toward right-wing interests as it launched its total war in the countryside to wipe out peasant resistance. In this way, it showed its true face as not much different from that of Marcos with which it shared landlord and comprador interests with foreign support.

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