ALTAR FOR PAPO DE ASIS

Photo of Papo De Asis by Juliane Backmann

 

"Papo de Asis was my best friend, mentor,

and teacher of both art and life.

 May he feel loved and his legacy live on!"

Homage for Papo De Asis

Altar created by Ginette Rondeau

Papo de Asis was my best friend and a teacher of both art and life.

I met him at the Onyx Cafe in Hollywood during his 1992 solo exhibition. His artwork was exhilarating, enlightening, and bigger than life. He brought poetic pain and injustice to life with the mastery of his brushstrokes onto his canvases. His works were complex, disturbing, and painful. He was the conscience of human rights violations and atrocities and opened my eyes to the world around me. He fought for human rights not only for Filipinos but for people around the world.

I was honored to be his representative and curate his works at El Pueblo Gallery on Olvera Street and in venues throughout both Los Angeles and Mexico. His exhibitions raised the collective consciousness of his viewers, forcing them to think about how many governments had such a destructive impact upon the people and the environment. He was interested in organizing other artists—activists and worked diligently with the community. He saw the power of unity and how changes could be made by the people.

Papo was born in 1949 in the small town of Dumangas, Iloilo, Philippines. When the Marcos dictatorship declared Martial Law in 1972, his art took on a much deeper political meaning. Papo joined part of a group that painted illegal murals protesting Ferdinand Marcos. They continually got their messages out until the dictator ended his term in the country ten years later.

Papo believed that art is a part of the struggle, the desire, and the need for justice. Through his paintings, he portrayed injustices such as military atrocities and human rights violations. Thank you Papo for sharing part of your life, wisdom and art with me. You will always be part of my heart.

May your spirit live in peace full of love. XO

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