9 April 2015 is the 73rd anniversary of the Fall of Bataan in 1942. Sealed in blood the permanent ties of friendship and cooperation between the Philippines and the United States. We commemorate the memory of the gallant Filipino and American soldiers as well as civilians, who fought and died side by side in the defense of Democracy.
On view for our ongoing exhibit PROPAGANDA is the powerful image painted by Manuel Rey Isip in 1943 to rally all Filipino soldiers and civilians with the defiant cry, “we will always fight for freedom!”
MANUEL REY ISIP
The Fighting Filipinos
Ink on paper (poster)
Lopez Museum and Library Collection
Mr. Norman Sison writing for Vera Files: The year was 1944. It had been two years since 100,000 Filipino and American troops in Bataan and Corregidor surrendered to an invading Japanese army. Filipinos have been waiting for General Douglas MacArthur to fulfill his famous “I shall return” pledge and liberate the Philippines, then a US colony. Over 200,000 guerrillas have been working behind enemy lines, continuing the resistance.
To keep the Filipinos’ spirits up, the Philippine commonwealth government, in exile in the United States, commissioned a poster. The task fell on a Filipino immigrant, Manuel Rey Isip, who left the Philippines in 1925 and settled in New York City. A talented artist, Isip drew illustrations for newspapers and movie posters for Columbia Pictures and 20th Century Fox.
The result was a propaganda poster, measuring 27 by 41 inches, that would make Isip famous. It depicts a wounded Filipino soldier about to hurl a grenade. With his left hand he holds aloft a Philippine flag — tattered but defiant — with the red field up, signifying that the country is in a state of war.
Fifteen thousand copies of “The Fighting Filipinos” poster were smuggled into the Philippines. It was quickly welcomed, especially by guerrilla groups, for it embodied the Filipino spirit of freedom.
PROPAGANDA (6 February to 30 May) commemorates the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of Manila and the 70th Anniversary of the End of World War II in 2015.
Through the activation of an integral segment of the Lopez Museum and Library’s collection, the World War II propaganda, and election-related archival materials, Propaganda fleshes out the idea of myth-making and its ability to inspire change in society, and conversely, the formation of a fantasy or outright fallacy packaged as a promise that never gets fulfilled.
Propaganda brings together works of featured artists Nune Alvarado, Santiago Bose, Joey Cobcobo, Don M. Salubayba, and Alvin Yapan along with a selection from the museum and library’s collection of Juan Luna, Félix Resurrección Hidalgo, National Artists Napoleon Abueva, Fernando Amorsolo, Jose Joya, Cesar Legaspi, and J. Elizalde Navarro.
The Lopez Museum and Library is at the ground floor, Benpres Building, Exchange Road corner Meralco Avenue, Pasig City. For more information, call Tina Modrigo at 631-2417 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.