This large canvas by Rodel Tapaya portrays the narrative of the Ilocano epic Biag ni Lam-Ang (Life of Lam-ang), illustrating events from his life from conception to birth, to his first adventures. This revered piece of oral literature from the Northern Philippines was first recorded in the 1700’s, but its transmission and retelling over the generations have enriched its story so much that modern versions of it have included images of American GI’s in jeeps. Tapaya’s painting is a rich tapestry of such images, and like the epic, its composition is decidedly non-linear and events of the Lam-Ang narrative appear almost spontaneously from several places in the pictorial plane. The hero appears in the center, but stylized in such a way that he looks like a totemic figure with a spear than a man. His magical companions, a dog and a rooster also are articulated the same way and all form part of the dizzying landscape that dominates the whole work in its expanse. The work is the first of two panels on the epic.
Acrylic on Canvas
182 x 244 cm (72 x 96'')