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Historic painting illustrates state of PH politics

Sharing this wonderful insight by Norman Sison, ‘Historic painting illustrates state of PH politics’.

IMAGE: Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo’s Per Pacem et Libertatem overlayed on the picture of the First Philippine Assembly of the Commonwealth Era. The bocetos for the original painting are now on view at the Lopez Museum for Complicated Exhibit.

Historic painting illustrates state of PH politics
By Norman Sison, VERA Files

At the corner of a gallery at the Lopez Museum hangs a painting measuring 18 inches wide and 24 inches high. It is over a century old, but the political issue depicted remains just as relevant today with the threat to freedom of expression embodied in the Cybercrime Prevention law.

Commissioned by the US government, the painting is one of several studies done by Félix Resurrección Hidalgo, one of two celebrated Filipino artists of the time, the other being the more famous Juan Luna.

It illustrates the Philippines symbolized by a Malay woman holding a bolo pointing downward. With her other hand she offers an olive branch, a sign of surrender, to a Joan of Arc-like maiden, symbolizing the United States. Its message was that the Philippines needed the benison of US colonial rule.

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