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Posted by Dexter Matilla - - 0 comments

By Dexter R. Matilla
Philippine Daily Inquirer
DateFirst Posted 01:00:00 11/09/2009

ANYBODY WHO HAS BEEN IN Davao the past two years would probably know Kublai Millan (born Rey Mudjahid Ponce Millan).

His larger-than-life sculptures are all over the city, such as “The Durian” at the Davao International Airport; the 50 sculptures for the Bukidnon Overview Park along the national highway connecting the city to Cagayan de Oro; and 100 sculptures at the People’s Park.

Millan, a Fine Arts graduate from University of the Philippines, has also done works for churches, provincial government buildings; in boxing champion Manny Pacquiao’s Sarangani farm; and his family’s five-story hotel, the Ponce Suites, where his wall-to-ceiling works have become a must-see for tourists and locals alike.

In such short time, the artist’s name has become synonymous with Davao art, and Millan is the enigmatic force behind the city’s gradual transformation into a place of bohemian revolution.

Only in his early 30s, Millan continues to churn out art pieces as if never at a loss for inspiration, as if never without time. One can only surmise the artist has found a natural inner piece that gives him a surplus of these two requisites for creating art.

“Seeing a family riding a carabao to a farm can have a lasting effect on me, just as the image of an entire community hauling a huge net of fish for the night’s dinner can stick in my mind for days on end,” Millan says. “If I can share even just an iota of the peace I have found during my long travels through Mindandao, all my hard work will have been worthwhile.”

Friends and family could only wonder as Millan has now channeled his talent into the blank canvas. Keeping up with his large-scale sculptures are his colorful 4ft x 4ft oil paintings which are beautiful in its abstract simplicity.

Understanding that life’s most important lessons can be learned from the simple fishermen and farmers of Mindanao, he says his profoundest insights came from the simplest impressions. As perhaps a way of thanking his unintentional teachers, Millan has put their images onto the canvas with the hope that people would also find inspiration from them.

Manila gets its chance to see for themselves Millan’s works as they are exhibited in four galleries all over the metro in an exhibit called “ProbinSAYA.” Combining the concept of peace and art, which Millan believes is in all of us, the exhibit is part of “Kublai Invades Manila,” an exciting road show of colors, passion and culture.

“ProbinSAYA” is the summation of the life in the province Millan has been and continues to be immersed in, captured with every stroke of his paintbrush. The exhibit is one of the artist’s avenues for highlighting the beauty of life and is a prelude to the “Visual Arts Mindanao” exhibit in the US and Europe in 2010.

“ProbinSAYA” runs until Nov. 9 at Gallery Big on Nicanor Garcia in Makati; Art for Space in Alabang; art19b at Cubao Expo, and Artes Orientes in Serendra. The series marks the first one-man exhibit of the artist.

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