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Ardivilla, Jose

“Engkwentro (Encounter)”

Three-color relief Print
Image is 12” x 12” on 14” x 17” paper

This is part of the works I  developed in the summer of 2020 in anticipation of 2021, which marks 500 years when the islands that will be known as the Philippines encountered European navigators.


This is my interpretation of the portrait of Spain’s Patron Saint: Santiago Compostela (St James the Greater) aka Santiago Matamoros, Santiago Mataindios (St James the Muslim slayer and the Indian Slayer). His usual depiction is he charging on a steed on a landscape of dead bodies. Instead of dead bodies, I made it a landscape of decapitated heads. I also decapitated St James in a fashion, by replacing his head with what I saw here in Lubbock, Texas’ ranching heritage center. That is a wooden structure where wild and untamed cattle will be encased into to break their will. St James carries a banner with a Hispanized spelling of the Tagalog language saying “because you are hard-headed.” The Spanish Colonial history is way longer than the American Colonial history in the Philippines and I am literally at the intersecting point in which I am in the land of the former colonizers (plural because we were an American colony and Texas territory was Mexican land and the Philippines was under the viceroy of Mexico for generations and among Texas’ old names is Las Nuevas Filipinas or “the New Philippines”), so being in these contact zones is not lost to me in my nodes of encounters here.

Jose Santos P. Ardivilla is an Assistant Professor at the University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD) College of Fine Arts. He graduated cum laude with a degree in Bachelor in Fine Arts major in Visual Communication.  He was a political cartoonist for major Philippine national broadsheets. He is also a printmaker.  He has written on popular culture, digital humanities, gender and sexuality. He has presented his papers on a number of international academic conferences.  He has been part of several group exhibitions wherein he showcases his art that delve into the realms of political commentary.  His current research deals with political cartoons, graphic satire, and visual culture.  He has earned his MA Art Studies major in Art History as well as an MFA.   He is currently a Fulbright scholar pursuing a PhD in Fine Arts at the Texas Tech University. You may reach him  www.Ardivilla.com