This body of works belongs to a series I call Dancing for the Moon. All done in black and white, these works express my concern for the protection, preservation and conservation of the environment.
These were mainly done in the manner and temperament of surrealism, a style which had crept into me in the late nineties. These may however be labelled as surrealist mainly in the sense that the symbols and imageries I used emanated straight from the subconscious. I especially delighted, while working on these, in freeing myself from the technical strictures of my previous modes of expression, and just letting myself loose.
I opted for black and white for the main reason that many things in this world can be seen in a better light if these are expressed in black and white. As we often say, "show it to me in black and white".
There are recurrences here of symbols I used very early in my career as an artist. Foremost of these is the "bakunawa", the mythical cosmic serpent of Visayan folklore, which I used here mainly to symbolize the destructive
forces working against the environment, just as it was a destructive force
in the folk beliefs of the early Visayans . In many cases this is seen in
confrontation with another Visayan mythical icon--the diwata or spirit-
being--which in this instance I used as a symbol for the positive forces
protective of the environment.
"Dance" in these works has also a folkloric significance. Although in the works the act of dance is infused with modern imageries, its original intent was actually to refer to the ancient babaylanic (shaman-like) dances as prayer to the spirit beings for understanding, protection and kindness.
The moon? Well, if we can no longer see the moon rising in our
sky then something must be wrong with our earth.
"...Much of the energy of his sculpture continue into his black and white
mixed-media paintings of acrylic, pen & ink, and collage. Uninhibited, the
figures of lovers fly in spatial perspective marked by checkerboard designs
that create pulsating and tracking movements that have a cinematic feeling.
They chase the moon, whirl around maypoles in landscapes of personal
symbols. Whether in sculpture or in painting, the rhythm of the dance
hold sway, but in Defensor's work it is human impulse and feeling that
power his work through all its images, forms and symbols."
--- Alice G. Guillermo
Oct. 17, 1999. No. 379
Dancing for the Moon IX.
Acrylic, Pen & Ink, Collage on Canvas.
125 x 71 cm.
Collection, Erwin D. Tonogbanua,
New York, N.Y.