March 1, 1931|
Davao City, Philippines
|Died||May 9, 2005
Quezon City, Philippines
|Training||University of Santo Tomas
|Awards||National Artist of the Philippines|
Early Life and Training
He was born in Davao City, Philippines to Chinese-Filipino parents who had emigrated from Fukien. He pursued Art Studies at the University of Santo Tomas, where he was taught by Filipino art masters, most notably Vicente Manansala who was to become a lifelong friend and mentor.
Body of Work
He first attained prominence in the Philippine arts scene in the 1960s with a distinct style that fused influences from cubism, surrealism and expressionism. Some classified his style as "figurative expressionism", others merely called it ugly. What could not be doubted was the violence in his imagery, a factor that slighted the commercial viability of his works until the 1980s. He favored such subjects as fighting cocks, rabid dogs, and people enraptured by rage or bound in chains. He painted multiple depictions of the crucified Christ that did not shirk from portraying the agonies normally associated with the crucifixion. When asked why he was so angry, he replied, "Why not? Open your eyes. Look around you. So much anger, sorrow, ugliness. And also madness." The intensity of his works stood in contrast to his own personality, described as "placid and affable".
It did not escape attention that many of Ang Kiukok's most violent or gruesome imagery was painted during the martial law rule of Ferdinand Marcos, though he did not build a reputation for himself as a prominent critic of the Marcos regime.
Kiukok was conferred the honor of being a National Artist for Visual Arts in 2001, by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 32, s. 2001, which was signed on April 20, 2001. The ceremonial conferment of the honor to Kiukok and three other artists - F. Sionil Jose (literature), Ishmael Bernal (film) and Severino Montano (theater arts) - was held on June 11, 2001.
Legacy and Death
In the end, Ang Kiukok emerged not only as a critical favorite, but a commercially popular artist as well. Upon his death from cancer on May 9, 2005, it was reported that he and fellow National Artist Fernando Amorsolo were the most widely bidded after Filipino painters in auctions.
- Cultural Center of the Philippines (2008). The National Artists of the Philippines 1999-2003. Pasig City: Anvil Publishing, Inc. ISBN 971-27-1412-8.
- (Cultural Center of the Philippines 2008, p. 20)
- "Proclamation No. 32, s. 2001 | Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines". gov.ph. Retrieved 2014-01-29.
- Vanzi, Sol Jose (May 21, 2001). "4 NATIONAL ARTISTS HONORED ON INDEPENDENCE DAY". PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE (Manila). Retrieved February 5, 2013.
- Torres, Emmanuel (2003). "Ang Kiukok's Icons of Pain and Struggle". The National Artists of the Philippines 1999-2003. Philippines: Cultural Center of the Philippines & Anvil Publishing, Inc. pp. 15–29. ISBN 971-27-1411-X.
- Zulueta, Lito B. Visionary National Artist Ang Kiukok Dies; 74, The Philippine Daily Inquirer, May 11, 2005, retrieved on January 1, 2007 and FilipinioLibrarian.Blogspot.com, retrieved on, July 6, 2007
- Endaya, Imelda Cajipe (artist and independent curator) and Cecilia B. Rebong (Philippine Consul-General). "Pamana: Modernong Sining" (A Heritage of Modern Art), An Art Exhibit from the Collection of the Philippine Center in New York, Printed Catalogue, The Consulate General of the Philippines, Philippine Center Management Board, and PCGNY.net, June 11, 2007, 12 pages.