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National Artist Ang Kiukok, 74
National Artist Ang Kiukok, 74
National Artist Ang Kiukok died Tuesday after a long bout with prostrate cancer. He was 74. He died while undergoing treatment at St. Lukes Medical Center in Quezon City where he was confined for a week.
Born to immigrant Chinese parents Vicente Ang and Chin Lim, Ang Kiukok was one of the most vital and dynamic figures who emerged during the 1960s and continued to make an impact up to the present. As one of those who came at the heels of the pioneering modernists during that decade, Ang Kiukok blazed a formal and iconographic path of his own through expressionistic works of high visual impact and compelling meaning.
He crystallized in vivid, cubistic figures the terror and angst of the times. Shaped in the furnace of the political turmoil of those times, Ang Kiukok pursued an expression imbued with nationalist fervor and sociological agenda, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts said in its website.
Some of Ang Kiukok's works include: Geometric Landscape (1969); Pieta, which won for him the bronze medal in the 1st International Art Exhibition held in Saigon (1962); and the Seated Figure (1979), auctioned at Sothebys in Singapore.
His works can be found in many major art collections, among them the Cultural Center of the Philippines, National Historical Museum of Taipei, and the National Museum in Singapore.
He was named National Artist for visual arts in 2001.
Ang Kiukok was born on March 7, 1931. He trained in Chinese art, specifically in brush and ink. He studied art at the University of Santo Tomas where he had Victorio Edades, Diosdado Lorenzo, Garcia Llamas and Vicente Manansala as teachers.
In 1954, he held his first one-man show at the Philippine Contemporary Art Gallery. He exhibited 20 works, all watercolors except for two oils. His watercolors were landscapes the wet-on-wet technique while his oils, done in the modernist style dealt with religious themes.
After teaching art in Sulu in 1956, Ang Kiukok returned to Manila to hold his second one-man show at the Philippine Art Gallery. His subjects were drawn from the life and culture of Sulu.
Fast gaining recognition, Ang Kiukok was invited in 1958 to Taipei to exhibit his works. Influenced by the Chinese masters, he did still life in watercolor on rice paper for some time.
In the late 1950's he came out with his Fish Series and in 1960 to 1961 he did a series of oils on cabinets and tables.
In 1965, Ang Kiukok accompanied Manansala to a trip to the United States where he was impressed by the works of the masters. Picasso's Guernica had a particularly effect on him.
Returning to the Philippines in 1966, Ang Kiukok took time to sort out his experience abroad and did not paint for a while. When he again took up his brush, he came up with robotlike figures expressive of the dehumanizing effect of materialism in American society that he witnessed.
In 1967 he did triangular landscapes, which reflected his moving inclination toward the abstract as well as still life with metal motifs. His style became increasingly dynamic and developed into a fusion of expressionism and cubism.
Ang Kiukok became well-known for his depictions of brutal conflicts, such as those of cockfights and dogfights, in an attempt to express the tumultuous social and political climate of the time.
From 1954 to 1992 Ang Kiukok had set up 29 solo exhibits and score of group shows here and abroad. He received numerous citations, among which are Outstanding Overseas Chinese in Art (1961) Outstanding Citizen Manila (1976), UST Outstanding Alumnus Award (1978) and the 1980 Mobil Art Awards, which also name him one of the top five contemporary artists.
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