Boholano ‘Father of Modern Philippine Sculpture’ dies

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Boholano ‘Father of Modern Philippine Sculpture’ dies

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Bohol native Napoleon Abueva, deemed the “Father of Modern Philippine Sculpture,” passed away on Friday at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI) in Quezon City. He was 88.

Chris Milado, vice president and artistic director of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) confirmed Abueva’s death through a Facebook post at 11 a.m.

Abueva, a National Artist for Sculpture, will be honored in state necrological rites, said Milado.

According to a post in Abueva’s Facebook fan page, he was confined at the NKTI since December 31, 2017 as he was treated for pneumonia.


The family of Abueva through another post on January 28 said that he was in need of blood donors after a bladder surgery.

Abueva’s breathing reportedly improved during the course of his treatment for pneumonia but he eventually succumbed to his illness.

Abueva was known for his several famed public art including the Blood Compact monument in Tagbilaran City.

His other famous works include Kaganapan (1953), Kiss of Judas (1955), Thirty Pieces of Silver, The Transfiguration(1979), UP Gateway (1967), Nine Muses (1994) and Sunburst (1994).

According to the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), Abueva became the youngest National Artist awardee at the age of 46 in 1976.

“He is often referred as the Father of Modern Philippine Sculpture. His works have become Filipino cultural icons, exemplifying the creative genius of the Filipino. At the age of 46, he was conferred the title of National Artist, the youngest of all awardees,” the NCCA said.

Abueava was born on January 26, 1930 in Tagbilaran to Teodoro Abueva, a Bohol congressman and Purificacion Veloso, president of the Women’s Auxiliary Service.

He was the brother of Jose “Pepe” Abueva, former president of the University of the Philippines and a columnist for the Chronicle. (R. Tutas)

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