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January 04, 2010


Davao’s most prolific visual artist to date, Kublai Millan (born Mujahid Ponce Millan on July 8, 1974 in Cotabato City), finally holds his first one-man exhibit titled “ProbinSAYA,” featuring at least a dozen of such vari-hued 4 x 4 works in his own gallery in Davao City.

The Kublai Gallery, which opened to the public on February 19, 2009, is located just two houses away from his own art enclave in Ponce Suites in Doña Vicente Village in Bajada. On current display at the gallery are his impressive works in geometric patterns that unabashedly highlight Mindanao cultural tapestry, if not Filipino images in general. One painting, for one, charmingly captures in varying palettes of pink and purple a “sorbetes” (ice cream) vendor. Another focuses on a Bagobo man playing a kutyapi while another has a group of Bagobo kids happily involved in a local dance.

The rest of the 75 paintings are touring key galleries in Manila in a visual road show spectacle called “Kublai Invades Manila,” and is a brilliant prelude to the “Visual Arts Mindanao” exhibit that Kublai will be staging in the US and Europe in 2010.

Among the galleries that have and will carry the “ProbinSAYA” exhibit are Gallery Big on Nicanor Garcia in Makati, Art for Space in Alabang; art19b in Cubao Expo, Artes Orientes in Serendra, and the Senate Gallery.

Without any hint of boasting, Kublai confesses that painting this current batch of works for “ProbinSAYA” has been his form of rest from the reinforced massive sculptural works he is currently doing for the Bukidnon Overview Park along the national highway connecting the city to Cagayan de Oro. “Maganda dun. You should come and see it,” invites Kublai.

Kublai has been known for his larger-than-life sculptures such as the gigantic durian outside the Davao International Airport, and the 100 sculptures at Davao’s People’s Park, including the ones that surround the 30-room Ponce Suites, along with his must-see wall-to-ceiling artworks inside it. Add to these are the 50-feet tall kris ikampilani in Sultan Kudarat, the Risen Christ figure at the church of Tagum City, the seven sacraments and a host of angels in San Lorenzo Ruiz Parish Church in Talomo, the colossal Christ in a mountain in Lanao del Norte, and the Christian images in the Christ the King Cathedral in Tagum City, including the various sculptures around Manny Pacquiao’s cock farm in Sarangani.

Kublai, who finished schooling at the University of the Philippines with a degree of Fine Arts, is also actively engaged in the National Commission for Culture and the Arts’ (NCCA) cultural caregiving program headed by NCCA Executive Director Cecile Guidote-Alvarez.