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The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) slated a necrological tribute for National Artist for visual arts Dr. Abdulmari Asia Imao, who passed away on December 16, 2014, at the age of 78.

The tribute will be on December 21, 2014, Sunday, 8:00 A.M., at the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (Main Theatre), Cultural Center of The Philippines. State funeral and honors follows at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

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Imao’s wake is currently at the Main Chapel of the Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina City, from December 17 to 20, 2014. Guests are welcomed from 3 P.M. to 12 midnight. “It was Dr. Imao’s wish to accept a state funeral upon his demise, as well as to hold a wake to allow family members and friends to pay their last respects and say goodbye,” son Toym Leon Imao posted in his Facebook page.

A native of Sulu, Imao is a sculptor, painter, photographer, ceramist, documentary film maker, cultural researcher, writer, and articulator of Philippine Muslim art and culture. Through his works, the indigenous ukkil, sarimanok and naga motifs have been popularized and instilled in the consciousness of the Filipino nation and other peoples as original Filipino creations.

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He studied at the College of Fine Arts, University of the Philippines, where he was mentored by Guillermo Tolentino and Napoleon Abueva, both would be National Artists. He received a Schmidt and Fulbright Scholarship for graduate studies at the Kansas University in the USA. He also received two year-long fellowships at the Rhode Island School of Design and Columbia University in New York. He was the first Asian recipient of a Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) fellowship grant to study in Europe. Upon his return in the Philippines, he taught Fine Arts at the University of the East. He also did several photo-journalistic and scholarly research works about the peoples of Mindanao. He studied and promoted indigenous brass casting techniques, and crafted several public art and historical installations around the country.

With his large-scale sculptures and monuments of Muslim and regional heroes and leaders gracing selected sites from Batanes to Tawi-tawi, Imao has helped develop among cultural groups trust and confidence necessary for the building of a more just and humane society.

Imao was declared National Artist in 2006.



For more information, contact the NCCA Public Affairs and Information Office (PAIO) head, Rene Sanchez Napenas at (632) 527-2192 or 0928-5081057; or email us at