In a single work of art, we chronicle the stories of Negros. “Bao” The Unbowed Carabao, is an artistic collaboration of two Negrense artists, sculptor Paeng Paderna and mosaic artist Lisa de Leon-Zayco. The project calls for the creation of a carabao sculpture using concrete, brass, and tesserae to marry the arts with the agricultural heritage of Negros. The intention is best captured in the words of Angelica Berrie, who commissioned “Bao” as a tribute to the spirit of Visayan artists:
“The narrative of survival through economic, political, and social turmoils in the sugar industry is a tale of endurance and resilience visualized through delicate mosaics overlaid on a five-ton creature born from our Filipino imagination.”
The massive masterpiece is at once edifying, visionary yet meticulous, romantic but resolutely educational. Through its stylized form, with head upright and brawn festooned in brass finery, this unbowed carabao celebrates triumph over trials, hewn from crisis after crisis, each time coming out stronger, mightier, bolder than ever.
Mosaic tesserae pieced together like hieroglyphics on a wall tell stories of a rich life, surely rich in character, in diversity, in lessons to learn from and build on. There is a sugar farmer directing the day’s work, the matriarch who brings sustenance of fresh-cooked rice and fish, a farm worker carrying a load of sugarcane on his shoulders like he would the worries of the world. Every disparate cut of tile perfectly placed to lace a meaningful tale. To weave one heritage.
“Bao” The Unbowed Carabao, is a bold celebration of creativity reflecting unique cultural heritage. With support from the Angelica Berrie Foundation, this installation is inspired by the power of art to create positive change.
“Bao” will be unveiled at The Negros Museum grounds in Bacolod City in late April 2019. Concurrently, a back-to-back exhibition, titled Coming Home, will celebrate the artistry of de Leon-Zayco and Paderna. Coming Home will run until May 31, 2019.