Napoleon V. Abueva
National Artist, Visual Arts (1976)
At age 46, Napoleon V. Abueva, a native of Bohol, was the youngest National Artist awardee. Considered as the Father of Modern Philippine Sculpture, Abueva has helped shape the local sculpture scene to what it is now. Being adept at both the academic representational style and in modern abstract, he has utilized almost all kinds of materials from hard wood (molave, acacia, langka wood, ipil, kamagong, palm wood, and bamboo) to adobe, metal, stainless steel, cement, marble, bronze, iron, alabaster, coral, and brass. Among the early innovations Abueva introduced in 1951 was what he referred to as “buoyant sculpture,” or sculpture meant to be appreciated from the surface of a placid pool. In the ‘80s, Abueva put up a one-man show at the Philippine Center, New York. His works have been installed in different museums here and abroad, such as The Sculpture at the United Nations headquarters in New York City.
Some of his major works include Kaganapan (1953), Kiss of Judas (1955), Thirty Pieces of Silver , The Transfiguration (1979) at Eternal Garden Memorial Park, UP; Gateway (1967), Nine Muses (1994) at the UP Faculty Center; Sunburst (1994) at the Peninsula Manila Hotel; the bronze figure of Teodoro M. Kalaw in front of the National Library, and murals in marble at the National Heroes Shrine, Mt. Samat, Bataan.