Metropolitan Museum of Manila

This exuberant work entitled Epilogo by the artist collective Sanggawa was painted during the centennial celebration of the Philippines’ independence in 1998. It shows an amalgamation of people and moments alluding to our long and fraught struggle for independence. We see a grand hall strewn with napkins and bottles and numerous versions of Philippine flags. Inside this room, how many of our heroes can you see? How are they portrayed?

We can spot Emilio Aguinaldo riding a wooden toy horse with a missing leg and a man painfully laboring to push him forward. Aguinaldo is holding an empty wine glass in one hand, and in the other, he holds a top hat with the ghost of Andres Bonifacio. The fervid Antonio Luna is also in the background while an apprehended Apolinario Mabini is in the lower right corner. Amidst this disorderly scene, we also notice characters who signify the Philippines’ colonizers: the friars by the staircase and the white tuxedoed man seated in between the American Statue of Liberty and the French Lady Liberty. Who else can you see in this painting? Can you spot Jose Rizal? Where is he and how is he depicted?

As the satirical work suggests, the Philippines’ journey to independence isn’t a one-way, clear-cut road. Why do you think this group of artists chose to bring out this broken and tumultuous narrative during the centennial commemoration of our independence? Now, as we celebrate the country’s 123rd Independence Day in 2021 and remember our heroes’ valiant acts, do you think there are more stories left untold—discourses, truths, and revisionisms—surrounding this pivotal event in Philippine history? What about other events in our recent history, or even today?



Oil on canvas

162.9 x 548.6


Private Collection

This painting was shown in the landmark survey exhibition, “The Philippine Contemporary: to scale the past and the possible” at the Upper Floor Galleries of the Metropolitan Museum of Manila from 2013 to 2019. It featured more than 260 representative works of Philippine art within the past century that marked various milestones and significant turning points in the development and history of Philippine modern and contemporary art. Copies of the catalogue are available for purchase. Kindly email shop@metmuseum.ph to avail.

#ArawNgKalayaan2021 See Less

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top