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.

No comments:

Post a Comment