Saturday, July 14, 2012

uncovering manansala

The Arts and Sciences Mural
(Vicente Manansala)

The mural which is located inside the Lobby of AS Building in UP Diliman couldn't be missed by any passerby as it totally consume the whole portion of the wall that could span of 14 meters long and 2 meters wide. It consist of a human figure in the center, juxtaposed with several turbulent figures of different objects such as a clump of dark clouds with lightning, a pair of carabao, an abacus and a test tube. All these are situated on the left. While on the right side, one can see a compass (for drafting), a study of human form (madonna and child), an hour glass, a lamp, a violin, some dead woods, a hall or a portion of a building and a mushroom cloud. These are all painted on this huge wall in a particular order that could give a sense of balance or unification towards the central figure which is the full anatomy of a human figure, in between two shrubs (of sampaguita), that looks like it is thinking or in the midst of contemplation , which I must also add, on the upper left portion of it is a weighing scale where the human heart and a human brain is weighted equal by the human eye.

Assessing the primary figures and the central theme of this mural, makes me think of the human interaction with different kind of immediate resources and the multilevel discipline in the fields of art and sciences. Every objects are metaphors that could lead us into it's own visual queues such as the madonna and child could pertain to fine arts, violin is to music, the hall and the drafting compass is to architecture or say, theater. And for sciences, test tube could be for chemistry or biology, the abacus is for mathematical calculations and so on. All these interrelated to the man's ability to acquire knowledge while inside the academe.

Moreover, the whole piece reminds me of Salvador Dali's surrealist paintings where the concept of time and space melted into a dimension that employs extensive symbolism. Each object has its own subject matter which the artist uses to portray this scholastic idea and yes, an ulterior purpose of this artwork why it was painted inside the AS Lobby. It's like passing by a tombstone and there it is written the name of the deceased, and if by chance you can remember or identify that person, then a train of thoughts or random memories would sprout in a snap of a finger. So as this mural presented itself for the human eyes to see, for the human heart to feel and for the human brain to think. An artwork that serves as an emblem for the the whole building itself. A caption. A prologue of a story. A reminder. The sole purpose of art.

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