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“AN ANALYSIS ON THE SELECTED FILIPINO VISUAL ARTS

USING MAO ZEDONG’S REVOLUTIONARY AESTHETICS”

by Kenzlee E. Ybañez, Ph.B


March 2009

THESIS ABSTRACT

Culture, while it is commonly invoked as the privileged realm of the national heritage
and traditions of our identity, is in fact no less than a force in maintaining or changing a
social order. Culture, then is not a neutral and autonomous realm from which the people draw
aesthetic pleasure. It is also a contested terrain where ideological battles take place. Culture is
the highest form of human identity, where art is the highest cultural form.
This study aims to discuss the problems of the Filipino thinking on selected visual
arts by considering the philosophical framework of Mao Zedong’s Revolutionary Aesthetics.
The answers to the objectives proposed by the study were obtained through hermeneutical
analysis of the texts, and critical observation of the different paintings.
The Philippine society is experiencing cultural problem. The Philippine culture
characterized the ills of the country that is semi-colonial and semi-feudal. This reflects the
dominant colonial, feudal, and bourgeois characteristics which maintain an immoral,
commercialized, and escapist kind of culture.
Art assumes the character of being the most beautiful and most sensitive form of
ideological reflections of the society’s conditions. Culture, especially art, is being used by the
ruling class in order to preserve the status quo, and in order to continue the oppression
towards the working class.
Mao asserts that when there is a cultural problem, a progressive philosophy should
stand-in and serves as a tool towards radical change. Thus, the researcher suggests Mao
Zedong’s Revolutionary Aesthetics as a solution to the cultural problem the country is facing,
especially on our mode of thinking towards visual arts. The significance of the study lies on
the fact that Revolutionary Aesthetics tries to make a certain work of art that is aware of the
social realities of the society, and it will make the work of art progressive and will contribute
to social change.
Through, Revolutionary Aesthetics, art then will assume a militant character as it
becomes a weapon for social change. This aesthetic theory uses the life of the people as the
source of the artist; this includes the interaction with the basic masses and learned from them
in order to attain a heightened perception of reality.
Through, Mao Zedong’s Revolutionary Aesthetics, the Filipinos would then be able to
appreciate art, considering that it presents their lives and realities. By reconstructing the
negative aspects and misconceptions of art, the Filipino can now view art as source of
strength, where they can mold their identity. The Filipinos does not only promote the
realization of his acts and values, he then makes his living meaningful and authentic.