Culture and the Arts Obituary

Nation to pay homage to National Artist Napoleon V. Abueva


National Artist for Sculpture Napoleon-Abueva. Image © Cultural Center of the Philippines

THE Cultural Center of the Philippines leads the nation in paying homage to the late National Artist for Sculpture Napoleon V. Abueva, who died Friday.

Abueva, 88, also called the “Father of Modern Philippine Sculpture,” was survived by his wife Cherry and three children, Amihan, Mulawin, and Duero.

In 1976, Abueva, who was mentored by Guillermo Tolentino, was elevated to the Order of the National Artist, becoming the youngest member of the elite order at the age of 46. Three years earlier, Tolentino was honored as National Artist for Sculpture.
The CCP hosts the state necrological ceremonies to be held on Feb. 24, 8:30 a.m, at Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (CCP Main Theater). Internment immediately follows at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

The CCP said Abueva’s wake is being held at the Delaney Hall of the Church of the Holy Sacrifice at the UP Diliman.

Born on Jan. 26, 1930, Abueva “has shaped the Philippine sculpture scene by utilizing local and indigenous materials such as molave, acacia, ipil, and kamagong to create artworks replete with his nationalistic sensibility,” the CCP said. He has also utilized other modern resources like metal, steel, cement, marble, bronze, and brass.

Adept in both academic representational style and modern abstract, the Boholano artist pioneered the buoyant sculpture, an early artistic innovation in 1951 where the sculpture juts out from the surface of a placid pool, the CCP said.

He was one of the first Filipino artists who have put up a one-man show at the Philippine Center in New York in 1980. His piece, The Sculpture, can be seen at the United Nations headquarters in New York City.

Among his notable works are the Blood Compact Monument in Bohol, Eternal Garden Memorial Park, UP Gateway (1967), Nine Muses (1994), UP Faculty Center, Sunburst (1994) at the Peninsula Manila Hotel, the bronze figure of Teodoro M. Kalaw in front of National Library, and marble murals at the National Heroes Shrine in Mt. Samat, Bataan.

He also designed the door handles in all the National Museum galleries.

Ibarra C. Mateo
A journalist since 1983, Ibarra C. Mateo is also an editor, a researcher, and a communication consultant.

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