CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The Embassy of Bangladesh in Manila has honored the artwork of a Kagay-anon artist by purchasing it then donating it as a permanent showpiece to the Museo ni Jose Rizal, Calamba in Calamba City, Province of Laguna.
According to Nicolas P. Aca Jr., a visual and performance artist from Cagayan de Oro City, his artwork was originally for the exhibit From Manila to Dhaka in 2018 held at the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) Gallery in Intramuros, Manila but was later bought by the Embassy of Bangladesh.
The Artist and the Inspiration
The art piece, a sunken relief in wood, is a juxtaposition of the images of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, known as the “Father of the Nation of Bangladesh”, and the Philippines National Hero Dr. Jose Rizal.
It was inspired by Aca’s experience in Bangladesh, where he came to know Bangabandhu, also known as Mujib. “He was known as their 'hero for all seasons. He had almost the same missions with our very own Dr. Jose Rizal, and both of them faced a very tragic death. This inspired me to put them together in one artwork,” Aca said.
Bangabandhu fought for nationalism, secularism, democracy, socialism, known as Mujibism.
“Bangabandhu and Rizal shared the same tragic fate for their countries. On August 15, 1975, Bangabandhu, and his family were killed by a group of army officers who invaded the presidential residence. Rizal, on the other hand, was sentenced to death by firing squad and executed on December 30, 1896 for exposing the dark aspects of the Spanish regime,” said Aca.
Both deaths inspired revolutions that unified their nations and led to their country’s independence.
“My visit to Dhaka, Bangladesh in 2018 was a very memorable one. We were warmly welcomed by their people, together with other artists from all around the world. There were 3 of us from the Philippines, I together with Tres Roman and Esme Abalde,” Aca said.
The three artists represented the country for the 18th Asian Art Biennale. There were workshops and tours to Bangladesh’s historical sites. There were also performances from international artists. “We also have learned a lot from their culture,” Aca recalls.
According to Aca, heroes are those who are willing to sacrifice their own life for the greater good. They have a certain purpose and believe in what is right.
“A hero for me does not do things only for himself, but for other generations to benefit what he does as well,” Aca said.
The art piece, along with books, photos, and other materials, is part of the two-month-long exhibit on Bangabandhu (Friend of Bengal) at the Museo ni Jose Rizal, Calamba as part of the birth centenary celebration of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Nicolas Aca was sworn in as the new chairperson of the Cagayan de Oro City's Historical and Cultural Commission on April 13, 2021. (SAYU/PIA10)