Part 2 of “The Basi Revolt by Esteban Villanueva”, National Cultural Treasures, in Know Your North

The beauty of art is that it can be interpreted in diverse ways.

Your #NationalMuseumPH continues to celebrate the National Arts Month with the rest of the country by now sharing with you the second short feature film on the 200-year-old “The Basi Revolt” paintings that were declared collectively as National Cultural Treasure in 2009.

A part of the video documentary project on the historic artworks, this short film focuses on the wealth of images found in all of the 14 oil on canvas comprising “The Basi Revolt” series that, as National Museum Director-General Jeremy Barns points out in this feature, have “elements that are really appealing, or arouse curiosity, or focus your attention”.

The film thus draws us into some of the panels, and up close, we get a sample of the images and how they are perceived, inviting us to also look deeper as well as challenging us to delve back into history and have our own take at the illustrations.

At the filming in September 2021, Deputy Director-General for Museums Dr. Ana Labrador talked about the NMP’s aim to open up the narratives on the paintings, for people to “develop their visual eye, and look at them from their own histories, their own ideas, their own kind of responses”. Without a very prescriptive approach into interpretation, the agency rather engages viewers of “The Basi Revolt” into deciphering the details and contributing to the making of narratives on the artworks.

The video documentary on the “The Basi Revolt” paintings that are attributed to Vigan landowner and mestizo Esteban Pichay Villanueva was part of the commemoration of the paintings’ 200th year in 2021. Conceptualized during the pandemic together with a new publication featuring contemporary Ilokanos’ views of them, the video was seen to contribute to the NMP’s campaign as well as continue its online presence while museums were closed last year or open on a restricted basis due to the continued threat of COVID-19.

The video documentary project is a product of the collaboration between the NMP and the transportation company Victory Liner, Inc. (VLI), with award-winning documentary filmmaker Gabriel Malvar at the helm. Under the parties’ Memorandum of Agreement signed in July 2021, the film on the “The Basi Revolt” is part of the VLI’s “Know Your North” series of documentary films that took off in 2017. Malvar, who produces the “Know Your North” with his outfit The Extra Miles Productions, envisions developing several short features on “The Basi Revolt” as a way to continue celebrating the paintings’ bicentennial.

We hope you again enjoy this one while we await the release of the main documentary! So, don’t forget to regularly check this page for more on “The Basi Revolt”!


© 2022 National Museum of the Philippines with the Victory Liner, Inc.