Remembering National Artist Napoleon Abueva: The Father of Modern Philippine Sculpture

The Father of Modern Philippine Sculpture and one of the National Artists of the Philippines, Napoleon Abueva died yesterday, February 16, 2018. He was 88 years old.

The artist’s daughter, Amman, confirmed his death.

[Image Credit: Napoleon Abueva / Facebook]
[Image Credit: Napoleon Abueva / Facebook]


Youngest Recipient of the National Artist Award

Born and raised in Bohol, Abueva was only 46 years old when he became a recipient of the country’s National Artist recognition, making him the youngest recipient of the prestigious award. His interest in sculpture began at an early age when he would mold animal figures from mud. He won a scholarship in 1951 to study at the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts and pursued advanced studies in the United States and later on at the Harvard University.

The late National Artist was mentored by Guillermo Tolentino, the creator of the Oblation. He is the sculptor behind the Teodoro M. Kalaw bronze statue which can be seen in front of the National Library, the marble murals at the National Heroes Shrine in Mt. Samat, Bataan, the Sunburst at the Peninsula Manila’s lobby, as well as the Nine Muses and Magdangal in the University of the Philippines Diliman.

[Image Credit: Wikipedia]
[Image Credit: Wikipedia]


[Image Credit: Wikipedia]
[Image Credit: Wikipedia]


The Art World is Mourning

According to his Facebook page, Abueva was confined at the National Kidney Transplant Institute where he was being treated for pneumonia since December. Last January 31, his family posted on his page again, asking for those who can donate blood after he underwent a bladder surgery.

The Metropolitan Museum of Manila, as well as the Malacañang, extended their condolences to the late National Artist.

He will forever be honored as a renowned virtuoso whom future generations of Filipino artists will look up to. We pray for the repose of his soul.

[Image Credit: MET Museum Manila]
[Image Credit: MET Museum Manila]


The National Commission for Culture and the Arts said that as a National Artist, Abueva will be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. His remains will lie at the UP Chapel in Quezon City.

Napoleon Abueva left behind a considerable body of work which will now be part of the cultural legacy of the country.