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Kinupot: A Resonance of Disappearance

Kinupot: A Resonance of Disappearance

Kinupot is an artwork of Edgar Talusan Fernandez. He finished and made it public in 1977. Since then it has become one of the most iconic contemporary sculptures that changed post-martial law art creation.

Kinupot | Ateneo Art Gallery

It was said that Kinupot is a derivation from the combined Filipino words, “Kinuha” (Taken) and “Sinupot” (Bagged). It was created to showcase the particularly unjustifiable restraints placed upon the Filipino media during that time. As can be seen from the photo of the sculpture, indeed it shows a deviation from the trend and advent of usual sculptures. Especially, during that time that focused on flaunting the contortions of human forms. However, the work of art “Kinupot” is not only creative but also political. According to the artist, the true inspiration behind one of his most well-known works is the Desaparecidos.

Kinupot and the Desaparecidos

Desaparecidos is the Latin and Roman combination from which the English word “Disappeared” was derived from. Linguistically speaking. this indicates and aims to portray the instance wherein people seem to vanish out of thin air. As a matter of fact, the CHR in collaboration with UNESCO built a monument entitled “Ang Bantayog ng mga Desaparecido” in Manila. A monument depicting a woman lighting a torch to help a child that is carrying the portrait of his missing father. Surrounding this monument are the names of the people that have disappeared during the Martial Law era. The names today are 1,300 people. These are the names that inspired Kinupot.

The 1,300

1,300 families have lost their fathers, mothers, and children to one of the most gruesome pages of Filipino history. A history- which the post-election results seem to indicate- to be repeating once more.

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Edgar Fernandez was not the only artist to stand up against Martial Law, many fought, risked, and lost their lives in order to destroy the regime that is now being rebuilt. It is great shame that we seemed to have failed them. Truly no sculpture, no matter how beautiful can convince people of the truth that they refuse to see.

1,300 people missing and we have the responsibility to make sure that in the impending claim of another Marcos on the throne of power, this number would no longer increase. We owe it to those that featured in Kinupot, to those that built and risk their entire career for the freedom that we now have.

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