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Isabeleño artist mounts exhibit in Intramuros in honor of farmers and fishermen

In a quaint studio nestled in rolling hills, brushes dance across the canvas and vibrant colors meld to form a captivating tribute to farmers and fishermen in Isabela.

Rogelio Doruelo, a proud son of farmers and a visionary artist, showcased his artwork which breathes life into the toil, resilience, and beauty of the agricultural world in an exhibit of mosaic and mixed-media works titled “Obra Isabella” at the NCCA (National Commission for Culture and the Arts) Gallery in Intramuros, Manila.

The exhibit which opened in November will run until January 31.

'Agdakilis' (Photo courtesy of Rogelio Doruelo)

Doruelo's admiration for farmers and fishermen stems from his childhood that was spent in the countryside where he marveled at the rhythm of the fields and the dedication of those who tilled the land and braved the waters of the river.

The Obra Isabella is an ode to these unsung heroes and an attempt to encapsulate their tireless efforts and unwavering spirit in his masterpieces.

Doruelo, who hails from the Quirino town of Isabela, named the Obra Isabella after Queen Isabella II of Spain (1830-1904) – the original name of the province.

Growing up among generations of farmers, Doruelo revealed that he inherited his artistic gift from his parents, Rogelio Sr. and Charlita.

During his elementary and high school days, Doruelo won numerous poster-making contests. His winning streak continued in college where he pursued fine arts at the University of St. Louis in Tuguegarao City, Cagayan province.

With his passion for the arts, his sculptures and wood mosaic wall art have graced prestigious exhibitions such as Manila FAME and international furniture shows in Singapore and Korea.

Exhibiting artist Rogelio Doruelo during the launching of the Obra Isabella at NCCA. (Photo courtesy of Rogelio Doruelo)

The ‘Obra Isabella’

The ‘Obra Isabella’ captures the essence of farming and fishing lives in breathtaking detail. Each craft conveys the sweat, passion, and love embedded in the soil and water. From golden wheat fields swaying under the sun's gentle caress to weathered hands nurturing delicate seedlings, his pieces radiate a profound respect for the agricultural laborers.

Doruelo said his art is inspired by his hometown's natural beauty and vibrant culture referring to it as “land of farmers and fishermen”.

What makes Doruelo unique from other artists is that he uses locally sourced materials for his pieces, such as reclaimed wood, metal scraps, and driftwood.

“My art celebrates our culture and traditions and more importantly, captures the rural lives of our tireless farmers and fishermen, two of the greatest everyday Filipino heroes,” shares the artist.

‘River of Abundance’ (Photo courtesy of Rogelio Doruelo)

Doruelo’s masterpiece’s “A Farmer’s Sacrifice” and “A Father’s Love” prove that he is also a metalsmith. The piece, which is made from hammered metal scraps and reclaimed wood from demolished houses, shows how a farmer works hard for his family.

His metal sculpture “Daklis” and the mosaic “Agdadaklis” depict a traditional community activity where villagers work together to catch fish with a large net.

His painting, “A Fisherman’s Journey: Diving into the Depths,” shows the bravery of fishermen in deep-sea fishing in the hope of having a bountiful catch

His piece, “Fisherman’s Enigma,” showcases birds accompanying a fisherman, and for Isabeleños, this represents an important cultural belief, signifying good fortune during fishing expeditions.

One of his arts displayed also at the exhibit is the wood-mosaic work “Anahaw” - a naturalist depiction of the country’s national leaf.

Doruelo’s art transcends the boundaries of a mere canvas. It serves as a bridge, connecting urban dwellers with the rustic heartbeat of agricultural life.  

He expressed gratitude to the NCCA Gallery for supporting talents like him, providing a platform to connect his artworks with a wider audience as he invites the world to pause, reflect, and appreciate the relentless dedication of those who sow the seeds of sustenance.

As he continues to pay tribute to all the farmers and fishermen in the Cagayan Valley Region, Doruelo remains committed to his mission: to amplify the voices and stories of farmers and fishermen, ensuring that their invaluable contribution to society is recognized and celebrated for generations to come. (OTB/MDCT/PIA Cagayan)

‘A Fisherman’s Journey: Diving into the Depths’ (Photo courtesy of Rogelio Doruelo)
'The Elusive Golden Carp' (Photo courtesy of Rogelio Doruelo)
'Navigating the Waters' (Photo courtesy of Rogelio Doruelo)
‘A Farmer’s Sacrifice’ (Photo courtesy of Rogelio Doruelo)
‘A Farmer’s Sacrifice’ (Photo courtesy of Rogelio Doruelo)

About the Author

Mark Djeron Tumabao

Regional Editor and Social Media Manager

Region 2

An ordinary writer from Cagayan Province. 

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