“Sukal, Sulak, Sulasok”
Oil on canvas
Sukal, Sulak, Sulasok is a response to the quincentennial anniversary of Magellan’s voyage and introduction of Christianity in the Philippines. Masukal or dense sulak meaning boiling or simmering, and sulasok meaning nauseating or disgusting is what I named this work. My response serves only as a reminder and a point of reflection. Not having lived through these events, the act of remembering felt like going through a dense forest of memories in our history and seeing a place that became a boiling pot where gruesome acts have been committed, hence sulak and sulasok. Most anniversaries are meant to feel like there is a need for celebration, but I personally felt the contrary in this 500-year commemoration. Although it is true that we have come a long way from being a colony. Traces of our colonization is still and already deeply embedded in our culture. We have no way of undoing this since it is the system that brought us up, raised and fed us. The distorted image of the jungle is my way of remembering our nature. What we lost literally and figuratively through the hands of our colonizers. I am not just speaking about the Spanish colonial era, but through all the generations before me. The atmosphere in the image depicts a scene of dread, and of a turbulent time. It portrays land flooded with our ancestors’ blood soaking the roots with it. Trees melting into each other a symbol for the assimilation that we have now and also a sign for the changing of times. Changes in time require changes in us as well. Today, everything is melting through our lives and is now come to a point where we are told to celebrate this horrific point in our history. However, it is also in our nature to evolve as a collective and as an individual. But, let us never forget our past, our roots, and the blood that the people before us has paid for our freedom and rights.
Ryle Russell is a junior painting student from the UP College of Fine Arts. Being a student, he sees this time to absorb knowledge and to sharpen his language in the field. Themes of his work mostly stem out of the need to see for himself. His exploration and the channeling of his idiosyncrasies allow him to create his own views in tackling different ideas. He considers this as form of getting-to-know-activity of oneself. Traversing different paths and learning to navigate through the landscape of his mind. Looking for triggers of curiosities and/or biases of the mind and the spirit is the main area of interest as of this moment. Other interests include nature, science, spirituality and magic.