Desaparecidos Sculpture  Martial Law Toym Imao University of the Philippines

Desaparecidos (Memorializing Absence)

This art installation is currently at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani Memorial Center, Diliman, Quezon City.

The 43 figures in Toym Imao's latest art installation represent those left behind by victims of forced disappearance. Empty and hollow, each figure represents a year since Martial Law was declared. Instead of portraits and picture frames, the figures hold empty niches, signifying death, the lack of closure, the emptiness, the hollow feeling, and the gut-wrenching pain those left behind must deal with.

Absence remains an open wound. But despite it, the desaparecidos remain present in our hearts and minds. Despite efforts to eradicate their existence, they will never be forgotten.

TOYM IMAO is a storyteller and multi-media artist. He is a sculptor and painter in both classical and contemporary styles, a writer and a filmmaker. He first trained in the arts under Philippine National Artists for the Visual Arts Napoleon V. Abueva and Abdulmari Asia Imao (his father). His formal training came from the University of the Philippines (B.S. Architecture, Masters in Fine Arts) and Maryland Institute College of Arts (M.A. Sculpture) under a Fulbright Scholarship. He studied film and apprenticed under premier Philippine director Marilou Diaz-Abaya. He credits his mentor National Artist for Literature Alejandro R. Roces for his passion for Philippine history and culture.

He is the recipient of Most Outstanding Capampangan Award for Achievement in the Field of Sculpture, given by the Provincial Government of Pampanga in 2003; the Gawad Patnubay ng Sining at Kalinangan (Sculpture) given by the City of Manila in 2010; and the Gawad Parangal para sa Sining sa Larangan ng Eskultura by Quezon City in 2012. He has recently been cited for Best Production Design (New Breed Category) in the 10th Cinemalaya Film Festival (2014) for "K'na the Dreamweaver." He is a Gawad Buhay awardee for Set Design for Tanghalang Pilipino’s Mabining Mandirigma: A Steampunk Musical.. He also designed the sets for Ballet Philippines' production of Crisostomo Ibarra and Simoun as well as Tanghalang Pilipino's Pangarap sa Isang Gabi ng Gitnang Tag-araw. All shows were mounted at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

Get to know Toym more.