MindanaoArt (5 of 10): THE SILENT WITNESS by Piguras Davao

1st Mindanao Art Fair and Exhibit
Theme: Traversing the River of Creativity
Atrium of Gaisano Mall, Davao City
10 a.m. to 9 p.m, October 5 and 6, 2019 

(Exhibit Notes from MindanaoArt)


The Piguras group of figurative artist is a collective of painters whose inclination is into contemporary classical realism. Like many other art groups, the works of each artist are distinctive, coming from different backgrounds, points of view and character. It is thus difficult to confine them to a particular set of aesthetics or style of art.

The one thing that binds them as a collective is their dedication and discipline to further their cause which is to promote contemporary classical realism in the local arts scene. Individual artist is encouraged to create works which personally inspire them. It is anticipated that the collection would reflect the rich diversity in terms of their personality, creativity, wit and most importantly, culture. Just as Davao city is a melting pot of a multitude of cultures that thrive in their differences and not overshadowing each other. Instead, each one complements each other and helps each other shine. This is the same spirit that spurs Piguras Davao onward.

Exhibition notes by Vinci Bueza 

The Silent Witness
Diptych, 6ft x 20 ft per panel
Oil on Canvas
By Piguras Davao
For Mindanao Art Fair and Exhibit, Oct 5-6, Atrium GMall of Davao

A River’s Dreamscape

An android American-colonial soldier marches silently, tribal gods and primeval ancestors spring out of the canvas, while a faceless pin-up girl poses with a golden toilet bowl.  A river of indigenous fabric runs across the two panels, connecting, disconnecting, confusing, and revealing imageries and narratives. The viewer is at first disoriented at the marching symbols, yet the mural beckons, and now completely gripped by the current of the same river that runs the canvas, the viewer surrenders to this aesthetic rebellion.

“The Silent Witness” is a collaborative artwork of ten artists from different artistic styles and personal motivations. Coming together to tell this story and ideology, are several members of Piguras Davao, an organization of figure artists from Davao City: Dominic Turno, Alfred Galvez, Dominic Pilapil, Rene Pilapil,  Rey Bollozos, Mark Tolentino, King Nelson Duyan, and Raymund Ric Bisna. This oil-in-canvas mural is a 2-panel work measuring 6 feet by 20 feet each, and takes its inspiration from the rich history of Davao, including indigenous mythologies, popular culture, and surreal symbolisms.

There is an intensity in the painting – in the images, the narratives, and the strongly expressive language in vibrant color, the depth of insight, and the deliberate telling of the passage of time. “The Silent Witness” is a narrative mural which tells the story of a place, or perhaps it is visual poetry, with the images signifying a complex of local histories, recollections, and aspirations.




A central figure in each panel looms over the rest of the elements and draws our attention to the dialectic of the two panels. In the first panel, the central figure is the Bagobo creator god, Manama, with his arms outstretched willing creation to being.  The first man and woman, the Mona, is below the creator god, and with their pounding of the ubiquitous rice mortar, a multitude of ancient ancestors descend to become progenitors of different Mindanao peoples, unique in their differences. While below the images of the first parents lie the final mother of all, Mebuyan, Bagobo goddess of the underworld, hundred-breasted, benevolent chthonic mother, psychopomp who guides and purifies the dead.  Other figures in this panel are familiar historical imageries, like the ships of the Spanish conquistadores, American fighter planes, Islamic and Christian sacred places, and Arab and Chinese traders. Interestingly, the images do not follow a linear narrative. American-colonial figures are grouped together with Spanish soldiers, and ancient sultans seat with a Japanese samurai warrior. In this translation of our local history, a fighter plane morphs into a giant fish, a conquistador rides a mechanical horse from a carousel, and a decorated American general has robot feet straight out of a Star Wars movie.




The first panel is recollection – but dreamlike, muddied, yet surprisingly akin to the texture and drama of our personal memories.

The second panel features two large elements that capture our attention: the image of Libertas mirroring the outstretched arms of Manama on the other panel, and the two human figures in a boat reminding us of the Manunggul jar. If the first panel surprises us with its cognitive dissonances, the second panel provokes and disturbs with its density of implications, hints, and fleeting seductive physiognomies. The figures on the boat riding the river of tnalak – a dream textile of the Tboli people – connect the two panels. We are the boat figures riding this history-dreamscape. The human figures in the Manunggul jar are on their way to the netherworld, but here our journey is towards awareness of the present. In this landscape, Libertas, symbolizing freedom, is an ideal and a destination, where the river of our convoluted histories end. Surrounding this central figure are more surreal images: a woman lies dead, a hollow man is consumed by darkness, a lumad child devours a hamburger, while white-clad diwatas seduce us in a grove. The language of this landscape evokes an experience of the real with the texture of a dream following illogical associations as they appear in the canvas. Crowning this composition is a symmetrical configuration of a Naga (indigenous dragon) okir design and a Chinese-style dragon facing each other, mirroring, or perhaps confronting each other – the local meeting the global imagineries. One wonders whether these are deliriums of madmen or our own monologues that question our present individual and societal conditions.

The second panel then is awareness – it speaks of the here and now, the present realities formed by the actions of the past, leading our senses and imaginations to the depressing anticipation of the not yet.



Dominick “Coi” San Pedro Pilapil (b. 1990) is among the many young artists who studied under Venerando “Rey” Bollozos.

Dominick S. Pilapil

Pilapil has participated in exhibitions such as the MADE semi-finals exhibition (2011 and 2016) and the Singapore Contemporary Art Show (2016). He also joined exhibitions of SM Megamall and SM Lanang Davao as well as group shows at the Museo Dabawenyo (2016) and local galleries and events in Davao City and General Santos City.

Pilapil was born in Mindanao and studied Bachelor of Fine Arts at the University of Mindanao.

Kim Vale (b. 1992) studied in Ford Academy of the Arts Inc. (2011-2014) under Jamie Ang, Rodney Yap, and Banjo Satorre.

Kim Vale

His works were included in a show called Make Believe at Felcris Centrale in Davao City (2018).

He was also featured in Art Portal Portraits (2018).

Recently, Kim’s works were shown in Disfigured King at the Ateneo de Davao University (2019). Kim puts value on social impact in his works.







Alfred Galvez was exposed to Filipino masters at an early age. After spending much of his childhood in Davao City, he studied at the Philippine Highschool for the Arts, National Arts Center in Makiling, Laguna. Eventually, Galvez studied Fine Arts at the University of the Philippines Diliman.

Alfred Galvez

At 17, he became an apprentice of Mariano”Chito” Madarang from the Philippine Women’s University. He trained in the restoration and conservation of the paintings of Fernando Amorsolo, Carlos Francisco, Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo, and Juan Luna.

Keen to develop his expertise, Alfred travelled to international shores in 2007 and studied under Marco Cavallini, Alison Grace Wooley and Carlo Mori. The Bottega Arte in Florence, Italy is esteemed for trompe l’oeil techniques. Aside from the traditional Florentine approach to murals, the studio was also known for the architectural illusionistic technique called quadraturism. He also later studied Managing the Arts Program at the Asian Institute of Management.

The artistic practice of Galvez ranges from portraits, murals, faux finishes transform the abode into a resplendent space. Alfred Galvez established AG murals in 2003. Together with younger muralists, he established MIKRA FAUX. The Kuwentong Diwata Series of Alfred Galvez have enthralled many art audiences and have been exhibited in galleries in Metro Manila. Filipinoiserie, a series inspired by Filipino rural sceneries and leitmotifs invented by Galvez was also well received by gallerists and interior design specialists.

Born and baseD in Davao City, Dominic studied and graduated Bachelor of Fine Arts Major in Painting (Ford Academy of the Arts) and is currently teaching at Philippine Women’s College.

He is also a part-time art teacher at Deanna Sipaco (DS) Foundation for the Differently-Abled Inc.

He has joined the following group exhibits:

Dominic Turno

2006 – “Indigenous People’s Visual Art Show”Kalinawa Art Foundation,Institute for Indigenous Peoples Education Center, Davao City
2007 -Miting de Abanse ,Matina Town Square,Davao City
2012- Love and Hope(Celebration of Davao Visual Artist),Museo Dabawenyo
2013- Hope for Mindanao Through Art,Museo Dabawenyo
2015-Dakbayan Contemporary Art Show,Durer Art Gallery Davao City
2016- PiGuras an Art Exhibit of Davao Contemporary Figurative Artist,Museo Dabawenyo
2017-Public Becomes Uncomfortable,Museo Dabawenyo
2018- Piguras (Vision in Realism An Art Exhibit)Abreza Ayala Mall Davao
2018-Make Believe Piguras Contemporary Exbition,Art Centrale
2019-Eskinita Baluhanay 3,Molo Mansion Iloilo City
2019-Disfigured King Group Show, Ateneo de Davao


A humble person, living a humble life. King’s art journey is quite interesting. He was not able to finish BFA at the University of Mindanao, but continued his pasion in art and has been in several group shows all over the country. His works sparks one’s interest in art and fascinates the mind by how they try to tell their stories.

King Nelson Duyan

Nelson participated in the following exhibits:

2012-Sambolayang Art Congress General Santos City
2013-Art For Earth Davao City
2015-Art In The Part Salcedo Makati
2015-Ave Figuras Art On Voilin Exhibition Art Center,Megamall Mandaluyong
2015-Dakbayan Contemporary Art Show,Durer Art Gallery Davao City
2015-Lipad Contemporary Art Show,Durer Art Gallery Davao City
2015-Made Exhibition Semi Finalist
2016-Saints Exhibition Art Center,Sm Megamall Mandaluyong
2017-Don Papa Rum Competition Semi Finalist
2018-Self Portrait Exhibition,Art Portal Gallery Davao City
2018-The Battle From North To South Veranza Mall General Santos City
2018-Make Believe Piguras Contemporary Exhibition,Art Centrale
2019-Eskinita Bayluhanay 3, Molo Mansion Iloilo City
2019-Disfigured King Group Show Piguras, Ateneo De Davao

Born from a Visayan family but grown artistically witnessing the colorful traditions of Mindanao.

Mark Tolentino

His interest in Mindanaoan art exposed him in theater, dance, and music. After his apprenticeship to Bert Monterona, who is now based in Canada, doors upon doors of opportunity opened up for him.

Mark Tolentino believes that through visual arts and performing arts, Mindanaoans can showcase the richness and bounty of our culture and heritage to the world.






Bryan Cabrera, a Graduate of Bachelor of Fine Arts major in painting (Ford Academy of the Arts) with earned units in secondary education.  He is a professional visual artist and an Art educator of Ateneo De Davao University.

Bryan Cabrera

The group exhibits he joined are:
• 2006—“TIPON: ARTISTS ORGANIZING” Metropolitan Museum, BSP Complex, Roxas Blvd, Malate, Manila,
• 2010—“LOVE AND HOPE” Museo Dabawenyo
2015—“Piguras:Contemporary Figurative Art Exhibit”
• 2017— PIGURAS’S “Vision in Realism” Robinson’s Abreeza, Abreeza Ayala Malls
He also has had one solo exhibit last 2015 entitled “BABAE: Imagery and beyond” at the Abreeza Ayala Malls.
He was a 2007 and 2009 Philippine Arts Mindanao winner and a National finalist in the same Art Awards in 2008 and 2010.





Rene Pilapil (b. 1959) took up Mechanical Engineering at the University of Mindanao but his passion for the arts led him to a different direction.

Rene Pilapil

His work was included in the Mindanao Art Awards Exhibition at the Yuchengco Museum (2013) and was hailed Juror’s Choice.

Pilapil was also given an Award of Excellence at the Philippine Art Awards (2016) with a subsequent exhibition at the Yuchengco Museum within the same year. Recent exhibits include the Conclave Ground R. Gallery in Quezon City (2019), and the Bayluhanay Eskinita Gallery at the Molo Mansion in Iloilo City (2019).


Venerando “Rey” G. Bollozos (b. 1967) holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from two institutions — the University of San Carlos in Cebu and Ford Academy of the Arts in Davao City.

Rey Bollozos

Among his recent exhibitions is “Duelo” at Art Portal, Gallery for Contemporary Art Davao (2019). Bollozos is a former Fine Arts instructor and is now an instructor in art at the Ford Academy of the Arts. He is also at the helm of Atelier Peniel as its lead instructor.