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November 22, 2004

A must-see retrospective exhibition that illustrates a universal condition of the disenfranchised native in his homeland, “The Crucible of Immobility” goes up at the Hiraya Gallery on November 25. Featured solely in this show is Nunelucio Alvarado’s mural “Duta Inde Bala” (Land Not Bullet), the artist’s entry at the First Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art in Queensland, Australia in 1993.

The peasant as the denominator of all humanity. He has been the subject of the ballads of minstrels and the elegies of poet laureates of all countries. He and his family are the butt of the rage of greedy power-hungry persons who take from him his home, his life, his honor and his seeds of future generation.

Nunelucio Alvarado, one of the few conscience-stricken artists in the Philippine Archipelago today, pulls out his share of compassion in this mural which occupies the main gallery and turns it into a space which resonates with his outburst against injustice, violence, intimidation, slavery and rape of women and children.

In this mural, Alvarado creates a tableau of symbols of death, corruption and victims (as every icon portrayed is). Each figure is equal in volume and height to the central figure of a crucified peasant who is metaphorically immobilized forever. Even the peasant’s outstretched arms block his entry into the triangular keyhole of the door to his salvation.

Greed and power keep the peasant hogtied and low in life. The same forces keep the holders of power vision-less for a just and humane society.

“The Crucible of Immobility” runs through December 10. Hiraya Gallery is located at 530 United Nations Avenue, Ermita, Manila. Gallery hours are from 9 to 5 Monday to Saturday. For more information please call 523-3331 or e-mail hiraya@info.com.ph or visit our website www.hiraya.com