Monday, 30 April 2018

Diorama Images At Manila's Ayala Museum, Part 5

War, of course, unfortunately, dominates the subject matter of the Ayala Museum dioramas. Seeing such images in miniature drills home the impression of how futile the violence seems.

The United States fought in the Philippines against the Spanish (and the locals), staying almost 50 years, through WWII.

Holding ground, building forts. Japanese invasion, WWII.

Bataan death march under the Japanese during WWII.

WWII battles.

Finally, raising the flag of independence, 1946!

Friday, 27 April 2018

Diorama Images At Manila's Ayala Museum, Part 4

Filipinos want their country back and the fight for independence is on.

Taking the occupiers aback.

The British smelled an opportunity and showed up for a bit. What's a citizen to do?

Red-hooded men of revolution.

Not the same/similar KKK. It's the Katipunan revolutionary society, formed in 1892 to facilitate independence for the Philippines. The walk of the solitary Filipino.

 Observing a political rally.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Diorama Images At Manila's Ayala Museum, Part 3

The Spanish have arrived at the dioramas at the Ayala Museum, what's life like in the boxes?

Military men.

Formal dances. Master-planned cities with parks.

Horse carriages, civic order.

It's not all joy for many people. "Are you listening, hombre?"

Unrest arrives.

Monday, 23 April 2018

Diorama Images At Manila's Ayala Museum, Part 2

The diorama story from the Ayala Museum continues.

Ugh oh, indeed. The Spanish arrive.

They bring rules and religion.

And war.

Friday, 20 April 2018

Diorama Images At Manila's Ayala Museum, Part 1

James has a weak spot for how humans like to depict themselves and their surroundings - from religious figures to animals to the physical world around them. He finds scenes all over the place: in museums, churches, amusement parks, train sets. People love to show other people how they think the world is.

In Manila, there's the Ayala Museum. It's a straightforward art museum with various exhibitions on textiles, paintings, the usual mix of art and design.

And then there are the dioramas. Overwhelming. For James, nirvana. A major section of the museum is devoted to about 60 elaborate dioramas, each telling a little bit of the history of the Philippines.

These dioramas aren't slapped together with repeating figures and cheap cotton clouds. An army of artisans made and carved everything from scratch and the quality is apparent. The dioramas went on display when the museum opened in 1974.

As source material for James' images, the dioramas deliver a wealth of settings and moods. Time to create another world from a created world.

While the following images are in rough chronological order (the dioramas tell the history of the Philippines in chronological order), things have been shuffled a bit to take better advantage of visual transitions. Consider it a post-modern interpretation of an historical interpretation, etc...

In the beginning, an unspoiled land.

Then, indigenous people building a society.

Beautiful flora, a paradise.

Ugh oh.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Details Of The Old Chinese Cemetery In Manila

You've seen the big mausoleums, now let's take a look at some of the details of the cemetery.

Paying homage. People come for birthdays, anniversaries. The big day to visit is All Saints' Day, Day of the Dead (November 1).

More than a mausoleum. Many plots feature sinks, toilets, kitchens. The concept is: come hang out. Awhile. All that real estate needs upkeep, so you hire a staff to come in and keep it spiffy.

Beyond mausoleums, plenty of large graves, crammed in like a big metropolis.

Mausoleum turnover. While in progress, a dog to guard the renovation. The saddest sight, the crypt of a child, complete with weekly offerings of juice, snacks.

Typical mausoleum patina, foundation for a nice still life.

Monday, 16 April 2018

Checking Out (At) The Old Chinese Cemetery In Manila

Cemetery or a whole civilization for the afterlife? At this Chinese cemetery, it's difficult to tell. The place is laid out like city blocks with huge mausoleums. An exaggeration? Nope.

The view from the cemetery back toward Manila, looking a bit like a hilltop, exclusive neighborhood.

Families have built small buildings in honor of their dead, no restrictions on style and facilities.

It feels like you're in some sort of alternative universe neighborhood.

Inside the mausoleums, paying great honor to the dead.

Someone's fancy house in the hills? Nope, a family mausoleum. Wild.

Friday, 13 April 2018

Random Details Of Manila, Philippines

What a wild city. Historic buildings, busy streets, downpours. Details could help tell the story of Manila. At least one story.

Golf course.

Old building, augmented. Street market.


Fast food. There seems to be a Jollibee about every four blocks. Insert fire drill joke here.

Justice for women mural.  Timely.

Brutalist architecture. Impressive hole in the building on the right.

Wood figure of Pope John Paul II.