An Artist wreathes serene rhapsodies on bamboo

by Dong de los Reyes April 22, 2022 Tanay-based artist Brando Limon Bati CALABARZON - The ancient samurai combat skill jujutsu literally tra...

by Dong de los Reyes
April 22, 2022



Tanay-based artist wreathes serene rhapsodies on bamboo
Tanay-based artist Brando Limon Bati




CALABARZON - The ancient samurai combat skill jujutsu literally translates as technique, method, spell, skill or trick using the explosive pliancy of growing bamboo.

Unlike trees that can take as long as 40 years before their timbers attain strength and toughness, bamboo-- a hardy perennial grass-- takes a mere two years, and amply shows such serene but explosive pliancy, growing by as much as several centimeters in one day.



And as certain arcane lore would have it, all it takes for one's fondest wish to come true is to write such a wish on a length of bamboo, then, bury the bamboo in a remote spot hardly disturbed by human presence to allow earth-bound spirits to work, in fulfilling such wish.

Bamboo is planted at the back of a house to provide solid support to the household, or grown in the front yard to bring good fortune and prosperity to the home. It is resilient, unbreakable, and strong, but it will bend but not break at times. It may appear delicate to others on the outside, but it is extremely strong on the inside.



No wonder, bamboo sprigs, lush twigs, and groves are a staple of oriental ink paintings, as fired motifs in vases and dishes that can bring boons, beauties, and bounties.

Most paintings of Tanay-based artist Brando Limon Bati (born on November 15, 1970 in Tanza, Cavite) limn a hymn to bamboo that has, for ages, an ubiquitous presence, a guiding spirit, sigil or sybil of sorts in the Philippine countryside.



Strength and beauty

Describing Bati's 2011 exhibit "Shimmering Path" at the Indios Bravos Gallery in San Juan, art critic Cid Reyes notes:

"Of such soulful yearning are these images of bamboo, evocative not only of a native topographic landscape but also of a spiritual terrain, radiating spiritual light.

"The artist engages the viewer at once from a distant perspective and with an intimate approach. In his dense proliferation of bamboo leaves, illusion and depth create scenic abstractions that have been lavishly rendered with palette knife, each stipple punctiliously delineating a tableau of nature.

"And yet the sheer enraptured verisimilitude of bamboo, in its determined spread, becomes vitally alive, diaphanous despite the overladen textural grit of pigments."

Reyes points to an inner grace, a rhythm borne of movement in Bati's works-- "like cathedral scaffoldings, the vertical bamboo poles bisect the surface at a rhythmic pace, jutting out from a rumble of leaves, sometimes barely visible through the layers of a darkening curtain that allows an assertive radiance of light to shine forth. What comes across is a struggle between a lyrical mood and a tensile passage through a dense, tangled path.

"Reference to light abound, as can be gleaned from the titles. And though the ostensible subject is the bamboo and its proliferating leaves, the sage in the artist clearly summons light, breaking up into prismatic splinters."

True-brown Filipino

One of his works sold at an art auction makes use of a novel medium-- coffee stains, layered many times over canvas, and retaining the transparent quality of the brown pigment, a stand of bamboos that might as well be a reference to the myth of Malakas at Maganda, progenitors of the brown race.

As that folktale would have it, a mighty bird alit on a clump of bamboos and heard incessant knocking inside a huge culm; with her beak, bird breaks open the culm, and thereon emerges the first Filipino couple, Malakas at Maganda, paragons of strength and beauty.

The painting was a throwback to Bati's quest for a fount of themes that he can plunge into. He found what he sought-- the bamboo, its arrow-straight fibrovascular bundles drawing sustenance from the earth's bowels, bringing upward each whit of nutriment until the sheer weight of such skyward reach brings the bamboo back to the ground, in obeisance, in meekness, in strength.

Reyes cites: "He found in the bamboo an emotive subject rich with the potential of fragmentation of space, a visual image that allows for the seriality of variations without the risk of exhaustion, and a fusion of realism and abstraction."

And in that colorful myth, Bati also found his roots and source of strength, and of beauty.


Tanay-based artist wreathes serene rhapsodies on bamboo




Tanay-based artist wreathes serene rhapsodies on bamboo




Tanay-based artist wreathes serene rhapsodies on bamboo



Tanay-based artist wreathes serene rhapsodies on bamboo

Tanay-based artist wreathes serene rhapsodies on bamboo

Tanay-based artist wreathes serene rhapsodies on bamboo

Tanay-based artist wreathes serene rhapsodies on bamboo

Tanay-based artist wreathes serene rhapsodies on bamboo

Tanay-based artist wreathes serene rhapsodies on bamboo

Tanay-based artist wreathes serene rhapsodies on bamboo

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