Exhibit: Ambeth Ocampo’s Rizal without the Overcoat

We were walking around and stumbled upon this.

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Ayala Museum presents… 

Rizal without the Overcoat by Ambeth Ocampo has been in print for a quarter of a century and remains one of the most enjoyable means to re-discover the National Hero who has been fossilized in bronze and marble. Filipinos come to know Rizal through his image on the one peso coin, the basic unit of currency. Others recognize Rizal from the many monuments of him that dot the landscape from Aparri to Jolo. We see Rizal but hardly notice that the heavy winter overcoat he wears or carries is not appropriate to the tropical Philippines. Seeing Rizal plain, without the overcoat, makes him human and relevant to Filipinos of another generation he lived and died for. Rizal without the Overcoat is not the last word on the hero, 25 years later there remains a lot more to know about Rizal. Visit AyalaMuseum.org for more details.

xxx

This and the recent historical and action-packed biopic HENERAL LUNA remind me of a few chilling truths: 

I think it can make you feel a bit cold and haunted –literal chills– to remember that people like them did exist, and monsters like them as well. That the characters in our history books once lived in technicolor, and they had depth and emotions and complexities; that they were human, just like us, and that they were great in ways we may have forgotten how to be.

To think that centuries and eons ago, with foreign tools and on strange papers, with classic brushes and fresh canvases, intellectuals and heroes and geniuses like Jose Rizal, Apolinario Mabini, Juan and Antonio Luna once thought, rallied, survived. We are witnesses to echoes of blazing youths. The tricks time plays on our minds.

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