Amorsolo paintings come to life through young Filipino animator


Out of familiarity since childhood and due to unwavering love, admiration, inspiration and motivation throughout adolescence, a young animator dared to dream and reimagine the trademark rural canvases of the Fernando Amorsolo and skillfully transformed his masterpieces into realistically moving, seemingly breathing obras.

In observation of the National Arts Month in February 2021, video editor and motion graphics artist Mark Cañega has animated Couple Riding a Carabao during Sunset of the Philippines’ very first National Artist for Visual Arts – Painting into a brilliant 50-second animation, which garnered tens of thousands of reactions on several social media channels thus far.

Originally from the City of Antipolo, the 26-year-old De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB) AB Animation alumnus has converted the static painting to motion, as seen in the walking carabao, while a homeward-bound couple comfortably sits on its back, surrounded by a vast field of grain.

“Amorsolo’s works gave me the motivation to pursue a related path through the growing years. With the assistance of Gawad Kalinga, I was a scholar at DLS-CSB. With that, my love for art continued to prosper as time went on,” he confessed.

“It took me approximate three days to finish, mostly done on my free time. The challenging part was isolating each element in the scene – from the characters to the carabao, the field and the background. I had to strictly maintain the authenticity and traditional look. If I messed around with the details too much, I would lose the spirit of the original artwork,” he expressed.

To commemorate the International Women’s Day on 0 March 2021, Cañega once again allowed his artistic hands to animate Amorsolo’s Dalagang Bukid, an archetypical Filipina maiden made more vibrant by the sunlight.

The 59-second clip depicted a baro’t-saya-clad smiling lady with a flowing bandana on her head, as she holds a pot amidst rustling leaves, made livelier by the gentle breeze of the wind.

His creations exhibit what love and life were back then – so simple yet magical. For him, this is doubly special during this pandemic, for mental health for many is at an all-time low. A simple escape – through his portrayal of a simpler life – can lift the heart and soul.

Cañega plans to continue this advocacy – releasing new ones to coincide with red letter days, be it national holidays or international days of importance.

Mark Cañega

As an educator at his very own alma mater, his mantra is always not to rush things, most specially art. “I constantly advise my students not to compare themselves with others, for art is subjective.

Just keep focusing on yourself, become better day by day. Eventually, you will receive the attention you rightfully deserve,” he continued.

Meanwhile, Cañega hopes to reinforce that being an artist is a profession. “Artists will exert twice or thrice the effort, just to produce their very best. So it saddens me whenever some artists do not get paid or are asked for free designs,” he lamented.

“It is unfair to think that we make art solely to meet and satisfy our passion. We need food to eat, we have bills to pay. We deserve to be treated like engineers, architects, lawyers, doctors and any other profession – simply because we are professionals too,” he declared.

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