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Ang Mga Sinasanto at Iba Pa

In many ways, therefore, this exhibition is a beginning as it invests in the contingencies of origin. The artist calls seven of these figures sinasanto, “venerated” or “worshipped,” made into a saint, or rendered saintly. If negated, as in the phrase “walang sinasanto,” the concept of fearlessness arises, as everything and everyone, including the gods, becomes fair game, so to speak, subject to critique and judgment, even decisive hostile action. Four other works complete the suite; and they are archetypes, reminding us of characters of the tarot and, by extension, of Brenda Fajardo’s hybrid translation of medieval personages.

According to Feleo: “Sinsanto derives from the Spanish word santo, or saint, now a part of the Filipino lingua franca. A santo is a wood-carved statue of a Christian saint, introduced to our archipelago during the early years of the Spanish conquest. The icon eventually replaced the anito, the guardian spirit of the Filipino spirit world. Sinasanto in the vernacular means ‘to revere.’” The contemporary artist looks back on the encounter between the local and the foreign, the indigenous and the colonial, the inalienable and the alienating as condensed in the santo, which would supplant the anito. It is this shift from spirit to icon that has over time preoccupied his psyche as well as his technologies: to potentially transcend the binary and restore, or restitute, a continuum between spiritual lifeworlds within a violent history.


— Patrick Flores