“Rizalizing” the future

RIZALizing, verb. a continuing process of imbibing, becoming, and carrying out the essence of Rizal.

“Our vision is for every Filipino to know Rizal,” says Lisa T. Bayot, great granddaughter of Jose Rizal’s eldest sister Saturnina. Bayot is one of the organizers of My Rizal, a movement composed of Rizal’s family, friends and nationalists.

“The challenge is for all of us to rediscover Rizal, to have a deeper understanding of his ideals,” she said at the opening of Rizalizing the Future at the Yuchengco Museum.

“We want to make Rizal an international rockstar,” she added.

The exhibit presents the National Hero in popular format, surveying the various trends, industries, brands, movements and directions that point to Rizal as the root of inspiration. The goal is to bring Rizal closer to a general audience through a wide variety of paintings, memorabilia, popular icons, books, illustrations, contemporary artwork, archival photographs, costumes and fashion.

Rizalizing the Future presents the challenge to cultivate all our good qualities in order to perfect ourselves and, together, build a race proud and strong. Through his writings, Rizal offers a visionary look at what we Filipinos and our country can become.

“We invite everyone to think of what each of us can do as individuals ot make Rizal’s sequicentennial celebration especially meaningful,” said Bayot.

Visitors are encouraged to walk around a floating garden, and ponder on excerpts from Rizal’s letters, novels, and poems reflecting his values. One part of the exhibit is an installation where visitors participate in a walking circular meditation. Rizal’s words lead the reader around a floating garden, hopefully inspiring Rizal’s mantra of nationalism, love for country, and peaceful change through institutional reforms.

The exhibit features Rizaliana memorabilia never exhibited before. On display are sketches by Jose Rizal, jewelry worn by Rizal’s childhood sweetheart Leonor Rivera, art by Team Manila, and banknotes and coins bearing Rizal’s image. Also on exhibt are short video looking into Rizal’s essay Filipinas Dentro de Cien Años (The Philippines a Century Hence) and He Ain’t Perfect, a special gallery drawing attention to Rizal’s strengths and weaknesses.

Rizalizing the future is mainly youth-oriented, built on Rizal’s presence in popular culture. “Our creative arts reflect a multitude of perspectives and images of this icon. Can this prevailing trend of JPR in pop culture be the Pinoy’s unconscious way of saying he or she is embracing history, connecting to the roots of values that strive for the ideal, and the embodiment to help fulfill the promise of the race?” reads the exhibit notes.

BenCab's "Rizal" color photocopier prints


Events like Rizalizing the Future aim to provide depth beneath the surface of Rizal as a pop culture icon.

“It’s hard to make Rizal relevant. Because he lived such a long time ago, it would be hard for youth today to relate to him as a person, even myself, even though i’m related. People tend to see him as a subject, or something you study in school,” says Amanda Bantug, who descended from Rizal’s sister Narcisa.

Philippine Island Treasury Certificate, series of 1929

22 year-old Bantug shares that she tries to emulate Rizal’s ideals and love for country. “I think we could use social media to help make Rizal relevant. Not forcing it on them (the youth) but more like integrating it,” says Bantug, who created an independent comics about overdependence on technology.

“It’s about how we’re all really connected, but then we end up not being connected,” she says, adding that the overdependence comes from being so ingrained in it.

“But it can also be used as a means to spread information,” she says.

The Yuchengco Museum will hold the Nights of Rizal events series including an astrological talk on Jose Rizal’s birth chart (June 23), Rizaleats (fundraising dinners with music, wine and spirits, and special tapas and cuisine of the period), storytelling and lectures on Rizal and his friends in Madrid by historian, art collector, and writer Jose Maria Cariño, Rizal Loved the Swiss Alps! event in collaboration with the Swiss Embassy, Ferdinand Blumentritt: An Austrian Life for the Philippines book launch in partnership with the Austrian Embassy, Noli Me Tangere: The Musical events in partnership with Tanghalang Pilipino, Performance Art Tour of the museum and a Bench fashion show of contemporary apparel inspired by Rizal.

At the museum shop, Rizal pop merchandise compliments the exhibit. Books, notecards, t-shirts, personal accessories, 19th century-inspired gold jewelry from Camarines Norte, and a special RIZALizing the Future coffee blend are on sale for the duration of the exhibit.

“We encourage people to make their own activities or participate in what others are already doing,” says Bayot. The My Rizal 150 Calendar of Events may be viewed at www.myrizal150.com

RIZALizing the Future is on view through October 29 at Yuchengco Museum. The museum is located at RCBC Plaza, corner Ayala and Sen. Gil Puyat Avenues, Makati City. Museum hours are Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call (632) 889-1234 or visit www.yuchengcomuseum.org.

Source: GMA News TV

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