“Visual Anthem to Bamboo”
by Jennifer Bichara
Brando Bati’s bamboo is an integral sight in Philippine life and landscape capable of enduring the onslaughts of lashing storms and searing sun. It is inspiring for its tenacious capacity to bend with the wind in the face of adversity.
Of such soulful yearning are these images of bamboo evocative not only of a native topographic landscape but also of a spiritual terrain. The artist engages the viewer at once from a distant spiritual perspective.
And yet the sheer enraptured verisimilitude of bamboo, in its determined spread becomes alive, diaphanous despite the overladen textural grit of pigments.
Bati’s pictorial space added with details that provoke spatial ambiguities. Such that the multitude of leaf patterns in the manner of polychrome strokes, merge, through retinal blending as a cascade of spring and autumnal colors.
Like cathedral scaffoldings, the vertical bamboo poles bisect the surface at a rhythmic pace jutting out from a rumble of leaves sometimes visible through the layers of a darkening curtain that allows an assertive radiance of light to shine forth.
And though the ostensible subject is the bamboo and its proliferating leaves. The sage in the artist summons light, breaking up into prismatic splinters.
Bati attributes the idea of painting the bamboo to the late Manuel Duldulao, the pioneering publisher and writer of coffee-table books on art.
He found in the bamboo an emotive subject rich with the potential of fragmentation of space a visual image that allows for the spectrum of variations without the risk of exhaustion with a fusion of realism and abstraction.
Bamboo symbolism of humility
When a bamboo reaches its highest peak, it bends down back to the soil. Filipino people look at this as an example of humility. Many Filipinos applied this in their lives. No matter how far they’ve come and succeed in their profession or career. They still prefer to be humble at all time and respect those people underneath them.
Malakas and Magandas
The bamboo features in a Filipino creation myth called Malakas and Magandas “The Strong and Beautiful.” In which the first man and woman emerges when a bamboo stalk was split in half. On an island created after the battle of the elemental forces “Sky and Ocean.”
Brando Bati’s bamboo painting bears the rich brown tones using the unique technique of layering coffee on the canvas.
Coffee art is a truly inimitable water based art medium. It entails a solicitous and subtle touch. Apprehending the profundity of this definitive art is only possible through an unhurried and urbane practice of building layers upon layers of coffee.