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Tay, Malaya Na Ba Tayo?






Language Group

Data currently unavailable

Artist Collective


Geographical Setting

Metro Manila


Donated by artist

Making Classification


Making Sub Classification

Mixed media

Anthropological Class


Museological Class

Mixed media

Museological Sub Class

Data currently unavailable




Oil on canvas with photo collage


90.10 x 58.50 x cm

Artist Statement

Data currently unavailable


Data currently unavailable


Social Realist painting, as a genre of Modernist artmaking in the Philippines, gained increased political significance during the Martial Law regime imposed by President Ferdinand Marcos from 1972 until 1983. It sustained its critique of onerous power as visual narrative through the entire period and well into the end of the 20th century Philippines. The repertoire of images of social ills conspicuously included poverty, oppression, and abuse—normatively painted in each Social Realist artist’s dramatic iconography that appealed to the public’s capacity for outrage. The genre occupied disparate spaces from galleries to myriad street protest locations, and the artists were all well known as actors in anti-dictatorial fronts. Social Realism in the Philippines, such as this example, espoused a Materialist stance in the analysis of structural problems, and a desire for revolution against capitalist order.   

Curator’s commentary

Social Realism has had, for half a century, the status of sole artistic protagonist to authoritarianism in the Philippines. It was the visual art’s main critical spearhead at the end and during denouement of the Cold War as it played out in Southeast Asia. Self-identified with the Philippine Left, hence at cross-purposes with Rightwing formations, principally the state as reactionary, Social Realism took the high moral ground from postmodern, postcolonial artistic explorations in Conceptualism—which in the West drew from a Left intellectual lineage. Conceptualism took root at the Cultural Center Art Museum in the 1970’s and would, in large measure because of its association with the Marcos regime, be quickly drained of revolutionary edge in the Philippines. It would take many decades for Conceptualism to regain its status in the Philippines as politically progressive, for instance in works such as “The Collection of Jane Ryan and William Saunders: Jewelry in Augmented Reality” by Pio Abad and Frances Wadsworth Jones (2022).  


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