Mga Kwento, Panaginip at Panalangin
For Mga Kuwento, Panaginip, at Panalangin, composed of three-large scale works (essentially murals), Jara once again presents his signature figuration, but this time within the context of the devastating pandemic. Painted with a subdued palette, characters are trapped within the cold interior of walls or set against featureless landscapes, caught in a life-altering commotion and the battle of wills. The works achieve the grave tone of tragedy and strife—the ultimate crux of crisis inscribed by pigment on canvas.
In the painting, “Ang Liwanag sa Kahon, Nakabalot sa Dilim,” the figures, while multiple, essay the experience of a lone individual reckoning with the psychological ill-effects of the pandemic—from inner panic to constricting loss to debilitating hopelessness. Isolated from the people from whom he draws nourishing connections, the self confronts the gravity of these uncharted conditions. “Sa Bakod ng Gusto at Kailangan” and “In Sa Akin, Sa Atin,” on the other hand, put in sharp relief the fight over meager resources—whether food or land—all the more exacerbated by the pandemic, marked by chaos, violence, and the erosion of dignity.
Jara, in depicting these losses, shows how we cannot even begin to measure the extent of damage wrought by the pandemic, perhaps even after it has come to pass. Its alteration of our inner constitution, its disruption of our everyday lives, its global after-effects ultimately ask what it means to be human in this day and age. Mga Kuwento, Panaginip, at Panalangin brooks no answer, but it acknowledges personal and collective suffering, which is more than enough.
Words by Carlomar Daoana