Tikoy Aguiluz shares philosophy in latest artistic endeavor
For filmmaker Tikoy Aguiluz, the pandemic is both a curse and a blessing.
“I saw the pandemic as a curse because one can not interact with fellow artists, and a blessing because it gave so much time for reflection, to be alone and develop your art,” said the seasoned director.
He looks at it as “the perfect situation for the artist to find himself always working alone. I guess it is the search for my own voice, my own vision — the rare bird in me searching for himself.”
His latest artistic endeavor – Rara Avis 2 – reflects his personal philosophy. This would be his second one-man exhibit, on view from June 21 to 30 at SM Aura. The exhibit features drawings, sketches, paintings, and installations.
“Rara Avis is a play on my initials aravi, which I also use to sign my works. A rare bird is what I have always wanted to be, to become. That is the spirit of the exhibit,” Aguiluz simply puts it.
“In Rara Avis 2, the flight continues. It starts with a passionate line, or a meandering river, or a path teeming with bends and curves. The lines, the paths, and the rivers transform themselves into feathers, wings, tails, or burning fires with fiery eyes. Or it begins with a curve, or a half-moon, or a full one. It grows and multiplies; they soar and fly,” shared Aguiluz.
“The lines are like melodies singing in different voices. The circles are like notes playing tunes in different tones and pitches; they recur and return in different variations and transformations.”
Young people would probably not know that Direk Tikoy was actually a recipient of the CCP Thirteen Artists Awards in 1976. He received the prestigious award alongside visual artists Augusto Albor, Lao Lianben, and Impy Pilapil, among others.
“It was basically hanging out at the UP College of Fine Arts while I was taking my comparative literature classes. I sat in Bobby Chabet’s classes and took part in the group exhibitions that he organized,” shared the filmmaker.
That year he received the award was also the year he made his first film, a documentary on Mt. Banahaw.
“I got tired of organizing film screenings [in UP] and decided to learn the craft. That film took me everywhere, and I ended up getting a John D. Rockefeller scholarship in New York. I guess that it was a message from the universe — that film would be my life from then on.”
He went on to make his mark in the film industry, producing and directing award-winning films such as Segurista (1995), Rizal sa Dapitan (1997), and Manila Kingpin: The Asiong Salonga Story (2011), among others. His last film to date was Tragic Theater, a supernatural horror film exploring the urban legend of the Film Center.
GLAZING LIFE (GL): Your last film was in 2015. Are you planning to produce another film soon?
TIKOY AGUILUZ (TA): I was scheduled to shoot a film about a town wiped out entirely by the eruption of the Taal Volcano.
The pandemic put a stop to it. I am waiting for things to clear out before I will call Viva again for a film project. I am happy doing my art pieces now.
GL: Which is more challenging for you – directing a film or creating artworks?
TA: Directing films, of course. Because you have to deal with more than a hundred egos on the set. You have to be a good conductor and make sure everyone is playing his instrument right. It’s very challenging. In creating artworks, it is just you wrestling with your demons.
GL: Do you find that social scenes in the Philippines influence or inspire your arts?
TA: It is impossible to remove oneself from your social milieu, from your environment. But an artist must try to distill and filter the experiences brought about by his milieu, or try to search for the reality — the truths — behind his personal experiences. In a sense, our social reality always defines our acceptance and rejection of it.
GL: What are your thoughts on the current movement in the art industry?
TA: I see a lot of activity, a lot of confidence, and a lot of talent. I am always looking for original talent, and always shriek “Eureka!” whenever I find one. I think that the Philippine art movement is on its way to greater things.
GL: What role does the artist have in his community?
TA: The artist, traditionally the outsider, has always played the role of the shaman, the pariah, the black sheep, the priest, the wise old man in any community. It is the job of the community to recognize the artist for what he is and the role he plays in society.