Composite Imagery: Ea Torrado’s ‘Filipinas’ Dance, with Juan Luna’s Filipinas, and Vicente Manansala’s Maria Clara 

The evolution of our thinking and concept of Filipinas, from a noble and ever loyal colony, to the self-assured literary heroine who sang, ‘sweet is death for one’s own country’, is marked revolutionary.

Composite Imagery: The 1886 masterpiece of Juan Luna, ‘España y Filipinas’, reinterpreted by dancer and choreographer Ea Torrado in informed poetic kinesthesis, for the opening of Complicated exhibit, is as self-aware and poignant as the ‘Song of Maria Clara’, who here depicted by Vicente Manansala in 1961, overlaid on the map of the country she personifies. (Also reminiscent of Pedro Murillo Velarde’s cartographic masterwork.)

What were the sweet laments of Maria Clara in 1886, when Jose Rizal finished writing the novel Noli Me Tángere, whose reverberations of familiar emotions and passionate verses stirred through 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution, and up to the present day, where even now the ghosts again beg us to ponder? Would the constant evolution of mind and spirit lead to genuine societal revolution?

Song of Maria Clara (Chapter 23 of Noli Me Tángere)

(Spanish)
Dulces las horas en la propia patria
Donde es amigo cuanto alumbra el sol,
Vida es la brisa que en sus campos vuela,
Grata la muerte y más tierno el amor!

Ardientes besos en los labios juegan,
De una madre en el seno al despertar,
Buscan los brazos a ceñir el cuello,
Y los ojos sonríense al mirar.

Dulce es la muerte por la propia patria,
Donde es amigo cuanto alumbra el sol;
Muerte es la brisa para quien no tiene
Una patria, una madre y un amor!

(English)
Sweet are the hours in one’s own country
Where all is friendly underneath the sun,
Sweet are the breezes from native ricefields,
Death less bitter, and love more sweetly won!

It is sweet there for the babe to waken
In his mother’s bosom; without guile
To seek her kisses and embrace her
While their eyes meet in a smile.

Sweet is death for one’s own country
Where all is dear underneath the sun
Death is the breeze for him who has not
Any country, mother, or one true Love!