Artist Kublai Ponce Millan and his love affair with Mindanao

Published August 6, 2012 3:54pm

Renowned Mindanao artist Kublai Ponce Millan marked another milestone in his career by launching a coffee table book that documented 10 years of his journey to and love affair with Mindanao. 

“Tipik,” which means “pieces” in Visaya, is a collection of black and white photos accompanied with Visayan poetry written by Bro. Karl Gaspar CSsR. 

The book launch held at the Abreeza Mall last Friday, August 3 was attended by students, fans, the academe, and representatives from the Department of Tourism. 

Kublai is a Mindanao-based artist popularly known for his offbeat sculptures of people seen in Davao City’s People’s Park. He also did the Philippine Eagle and durian sculpture installed at the Davao City International Airport.  

Kublai has also helped the Philippines garner attention in the international art scene when his sculptures were used in the Nativity scene at St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican in 2010.  ‘Pieces of my memories’ 

“The book was entitled ‘Tipik,’” Kublai explains in Visaya, “simply because that’s what the book is. It’s a collection of images, pieces of my memories that are unique to Mindanao. My work and where I live has allowed me to capture all these images, these moments that I know I want to preserve. To have the entire book in Visaya was actually a deliberate attempt on our part. We want to reintroduce the beauty of the language. At the same time, we want to preserve our culture and our memories of Mindanao. This book is to show people what Mindanao is from the perspective of the people who live here and love the land.”

Bro. Gaspar shared that the rich images and the interaction with another artist energized his creative juices and made the process of writing for the book easy and natural.

brought me to his house at Kapatagan [a town at the foot of Mount Apo] to help inspire me [to get] into writing. It’s a beautiful place. You wake up seeing rivers of clouds floating against the peaks. The peaceful setting plus Kublai’s photos helped make the process easier. I was able to finish all the poetry in one morning. In the same way that these photos show Kublai’s love for Mindanao, the words I wrote here for this book is my ballad, my love song for Mindanao,” he said. 

Art Bocanto Jr, regional director of the Department of Tourism, was very impressed with what Kublai and Bro. Gaspar produced.  

“It’s a very beautiful book and it helps promote Mindanao as a beautiful place where artists can find inspiration while creating awareness for Mindanao art. The Department of Tourism completely supports Kublai in his endeavours and we hope he continues to be a driving force in helping unite Mindanao artists and putting them on the map.” –KG, GMA News


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