The Bayani Matrix Project of Aurelio, which will open to the public at 3 p.m. on June 12, shows the faces of Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, Emilio Aguinaldo, Apolinario Mabini, Marcelo H. del Pilar, Sultan Dipatuan Kudarat, Juan Luna, Melchora Aquino, and Gabriela Silang.
The painting is DepEd’s compliance with President Rodrigo Duterte’s Memorandum Circular No. 25 that directs government offices to display or exhibit photographs, paintings or other forms of representations of Philippine heroes.
The project was commissioned by the DepEd upon discovering Aurelio’s mural work in Paracelis, Mountain Province and in Abra, where he also did theater workshops.
The mural is an 8 X 18 feet piece, which Aurelio finished in 46 days.
On June 10, he told Philippine News Agency (PNA): “I’m on my 45th day of hard labor and lots of thinking. I have never covered such a vast space of oil and acrylic on canvas. It’s a swimming pool size at 8 by 18 feet at that.”
Despite the difficulty, AureIio expressed satisfaction on what he is undertaking.
“I enjoy the pressure and the toil because it’s an opportunity to exercise my patience and endurance to push my visual, graphics, and space management process,” he said.
"The use of each color and design element is a major decision to make every single time (you use your brush) it's better),” he added.
He said each color could well stand for the character of each hero.
“We are working on heroes, Philippine National Heroes, so I want to bring out each of their characters in my own means and impression on canvas.”
“I think when you start a painting you're opening a portal to a new dimension. You get to immerse yourself in your subject and get to know their own universes and thus expanding yours,” Aurelio said.
The exhibit will only run for four days from June 12 to 15, 2019.
Mandatory display of national heroes
The circular, signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea on Sept. 15, 2017, “direct(s) all government offices to display or exhibit photographs, paintings, or other forms of representations of Philippine heroes.”
The circular also states that “this material has expanded the list to 21 to enable public offices and our public schools to present these national heroes in public so they may serve as role models of the Filipino youth and students.”
It confirmed the 1995 recommendation of the National Heroes Committee under the Office of the President to recognize the said heroes.
The circular added that “it is the policy of the State to promote and popularize the nation’s historical and cultural heritage.”
In recognizing Lapu Lapu, the GomBurZa priests Jose Burgos, Mariano Gomes, and Jacinto Zamora and Jose Abad Santos, the circular wants the State to provide the means to strengthen the nationalism of the people, love of country and respect for the heroes.
Theater play to canvas
It is Aurelio’s second visual arts exhibit after his show at Rumours Bar and Restaurant on Session Road some three years ago.
In December 2017, Aurelio won two major Aliw Awards for his play “Anatomy of an Octopus Woman” during the 30th Aliw Awards. The play was set inside the Baguio City Jail that won the Best New Concept Production and director’s plum for him.
It was nominated in five categories: performance new concept for actress Hiromi Meguro, performance new concept for actor Benjan Natividad and ensemble for the female jail inmates, whose stories were depicted in the play.
Aurelio misses the theater as he adds “after this, I’d like to come back to writing plays again. I can't leave my theater heart behind, it gets jealous.” (PNA)
By Pigeon Lobien