De Loyola’s last painting of his beloved Montalban and his bullet-riddled hat he wore when he was gunned down on April 18. (Photo: Jess Aznar)
Updated: April 22, 2018, 9:31 PM
Artists demand justice for renowned social realist painter
By Ted Alcuitas
Editor’s note: In 2007, Loyola’s daughter Racquel and son-in-law Mideo Cruz, were in Vancouver as part of their international tour.Both acclaimed artists on their own right, they put up a well-received art installation at Vancouver’s Gallery Gachet.
Artists demanded justice for the killing of a renowned visual artist Wednesday night in Montalban, Rizal by still unknown assailants.
Arts and media alliance Let’s Organize for Democracy and Integrity (LODI) said it is outraged over what it called “senseless act of violence” that killed social realist painter Gene de Loyola.
“We urge the government to waste no time in going after the killers of Gene,” LODI said.
De Loyola, whose paintings hang in the National Museum and other major exhibits, used his art to call attention to political, social and economic issues, the group said.
Gene de Loyola (image courtesy of his family)
LODI added the late artist also went beyond the comfort zone of easel work, organizing to help both artists and local communities.
De Loyola’s daughter, Maan, said the victim went to Montalban to paint last Wednesday but, on his way home, decided to pass by the barricades of a homeowners’ group engaged in a dispute with a big developer.
“Papa goes there to help out. The organization’s president, Jhun Alarde, was apparently the target,” Maan posted on her Facebook account.
“[Alarde] suffered multiple gunshots, and Papa (De Loyola) took several gunshots in the head and shoulders,” she added.
LODI said Do Loyola was no stranger to grassroots organizing during Ferdinand Marcos’s martial law.
“He left the comfortable world of advertising to immerse full time in art and activism, honing his talent to aid the broad protest movement against the Marcos dictatorship,” the group said.
In 1975, De Loyola co-founded the Sining Binhi art group of Ermita to explore themes of the Filipino identity. A center for young and progressive artists, the group held art workshops for urban poor youth in Smokey Mountain, Tondo, a fishing village in Paranaque and the street children of Baclaran.
In 1981, De Loyola helped in launching BUKLOD SINING, an organization known for creating the huge protest murals featured in growing protests against the dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
“We grieve for Gene and condole with his loved ones. LODI stands with them in their quest for justice for Gene and Jun,” LODI said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)
Here is what photographer Jess Aznar posted on his Facebook page:
11 hrs · Instagram ·
He and his family relocated to the mountains in Montalban after their house inside a poor community was demolished by the government to give way to a famous mall now standing at the corner of Edsa and North avenue. Although bare and far-flung, he fell in love with the place and developed it through the years together with his new community. His connection with the community and the place was evident in his paintings. He painted the lush greens, the beautiful rolling hills, the imposing mountains, and the sprawling poor village that he led.
As a renowned artist and a good friend for years, he taught art to poor children in the poorest districts of Manila. Most of his works spoke of the very same social issues that continues to burden the Filipino society. But he loved painting his landscapes.
Jolly, gentle, and wearing his hat, he would go out with his canvas and brushes on a frequent on-the-spot painting session around his community.
Little did he know that that this painting will be his last.
Together with two companions, they were gunned down the other day by unknown assailants on their way back to an eatery he owned. With multiple gunshot wounds on his face and body, he died on the spot. The bullet holes and bloodstains on his hat serves as testament to the brutal killing. A cold-blooded murder committed in daylight in a country being boasted as secured and safe just like Singapore.
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