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Interpretation: Marxism, Feminism, and Post Colonial Artworks

Spoliarium by Juan Luna. Rome, 1884. A National Cultural Treasure. National Museum Declaration No. 1-2006.


Marxism interprets social change and analyzes class relations within society and it applies in the critique of the development of capitalism. It also defines the dominant and the oppressed people, and social class status.

Spolarium is a very elaborate example of Marxism because it clearly shows the dominant and the oppressed society. There are vaious expressions, emotions, and hardships shown. Personally, the atrocious thing about this is that it's a form of entertainment and nobody seemed to care. I see gladiators dying, women mourning, the tumult of the crowd, the shouts of slaves, whispered prayers, and several more others.

The Spoliarium, often misspelled Spolarium, is a painting by Filipino artist Juan Luna. The painting was submitted by Luna to the Exposición Nacional de Bellas Artes in 1884 in Madrid, where it garnered the first gold medal (out of three). In 1886, it was sold to the Diputación Provincial de Barcelona for 20,000 pesetas. It currently hangs in the main gallery at the ground floor of the National Museum of the Philippines, and is the first work of art that greets visitors upon entry into the museum.I admire Juan Luna because he is a great artist with inspiring works and burning passion in painting. He did a significant job in his "Spoliarum"

This was finished after 8 months! It sure is known as an award winning masterpiece! It was a work well done and an inspiration to all of us. Even after staring at the work for uncountable times, I never seem to get tired of it. It truly is an amazing work.

In today's society, this kind of torture is not popularly done anymore. Though the modern version, in my opinion, would be related to corruption. It is by far the those people's current entertainment for themselves and the oppressed would stay silent because of the various consequences, threats, and staying powerless. It cannot be served with justice itself if you don't have the control. Yes, I sadly agree that money is the root of all evil and triumph of guilt.

Las Lavanderas by Fernando Amorsolo. Oil on canvas. 1964. GSIS Collection.


Feminism is a collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights for women. This includes seeking to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment.

This beautiful painting is likely a feminist art, though not that loud voice about guerillas, independent women, and vice versa, but simply just females at work. During the time this painting was portrayed, I think probably earlier or 1800s, you would never imagine a man being a "lavandera" or doing a household like a househusband. Though I could imagine a society of men without women, and I reckon that would result to something stinky, sorry for the word because I just remembered a cartoon which visions men that lived without any women, and they pretty much looked so disorganized and needs women in conclusion. That's why women are here, but of course that is not the main purpose. Men can sometime cannot do what a woman can. The popular word of advantage of a woman, like said, is their so called multitasking powers.

I love the aesthetics of women showed in here. The composition has the right colors, place, activity, and the precise subject of women with young and fair body.

Personally, this painting mirrors what a woman typically is. They are beautiful, attractive, compulsive, and smart.

My favorite quote about this theory, in my opinion, is “You educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation.” ― Brigham Young

In today's feminism related to this artwork, we can see a big good change. Since today is modern, most of us use washing machines so the load work can be downsized, and many other household chores have been improved for more convenience. Additionally, women can have education and can be employed.

A Tragic Lesson (The Fall of Bataan) by Gene Cabrera. Oil on canvas. 1957. National Museum Collection.

 Post colonial

Post colonialism is an opportunity for the subaltern, which is us, to "speak". And by Gene Cabrera's interpretation about this horrid pain and suffering, he was able to share this atrocious truth successfully which we all needed and for the future generation to not repeat this history.

This is a very deplorable painting as it publicize the ugly truth of war and colonialism. There's nothing good that comes out of it, I believe it serves as a waste of life and energy but I guess that's life. The details and the message of the painting was impeccable.
This artwork deliberately shows the oppressed people, and though without the image of the dominant body of people it can visibly be seen when you analyze the cause and effects of this art's perception.

In our society and the whole world today, people die every single minute not because of war but because of poverty and illnesses, this can be another kind of interpretation about this painting because it shows the horrible interpretation of death.

Thank you for reading!


My conceptualisation about gender

LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex)/ Feminist Theory Related

Usually people can be judgmental, you might have not notice it but a human's mind has infinite words of perception. There are countless issues about LGBTI and feminism ever since, well... a long time ago. Even if we want to shout an equality statement to the world, it might never come true. All we can do is to respect people who they are. Yes. Respect. It is a small word that means something big.

Our activity project for our course subject in Art Theory II was to photograph a member(s) of our group portraying a subject about LGBTI and Feminism during our remaining time in class which is about 20 minutes. It should be printed in a thick paper and ought to look like a real postcard.

The conceptualizing process is always hard for me because I want my idea to speak out loud, and that's personally hard. At first we already thought of a good concept for the LGBTI subject which is gay marriage, but it was actually arduous to compel the boys in our group to do it. Here stands tall of men's ego. I know that it can be hard for straight guys to hold hands in "class" for a photo shoot, but since it was a simple school activity I thought it might be done. Time was running out and here we are sitting ducks, though it's fine because all of the other groups seem to be having a hard time on their own, and have no other else to do except... do nothing. The aura of that is very obvious in the class. Somehow, it was funny and awkward. In the meantime, I was still thinking about a concept for feminism and the only idea I came up with is girls who arm wrestle, also there were fewer ideas from my group mates about it compare to LGBTI. Since the deadline for the post card was next week, we just decided to think of a nice concept later then do the photo shoot the next day.

The day after yesterday came and the concept was still the same. But for a few extra minutes our concept for the LGBTI was final, two men holding hands and then a spark of idea from Denden, our group mate, said that the background should be "Keep of the grass." Perfect! I really love this concept. We had the photo shoot done without problems because we are the only people left in the class room, which means that there's no reason to be shy about.~
Keep of the grass -- It sounds something else right? We know the rules yet we still break them.

On the other hand, in feminism I just found an idea from my surrounding. I saw a ply board painted in brown. Rally. It rang a bell. A female leader running a rally. We thought it just fit in. So we did it, I intentionally didn't think I would be the one to portray it. So it was kinda awkward to pose at the camera holding a ply board... and that I should look like some bad ass woman. Nevertheless, it went well. Furthermore, I did all the editing and layout in Photoshop and I actually spent some time doing it. It was fun! The added quotes on the back was my idea, because it highlights the issue more and it spells "importance of gender" quite well. I researched some post card designs, their required paper sizes, and some information on how to mail it. I also discovered that there were various styles, but I decided to keep our postcard simple.
She's faceless because the society, especially from before, see women as of no importance in the economy. In spite of being faceless, she still strives to shout her thoughts by numbers and by gaining attention.

Activity question: How is it being in control or being the viewer?

I'm one of the members who initialize a move for our group. And being in control is actually fun for me. I like to delegate tasks ever since I was in high school. I remember so well having a concept of doing a story with a script, I was so happy writing a very funny one that made the class laugh! We also get to have a talk show activity, and I always like being the host because I declare all the rules.

Personally, being in control gives you a sense of accomplishment. Truthfully, I always work best when I'm alone, but when it comes to group activity I try my best to get the best results for me and my group. I've come to realize after some quite time that teamwork is an exciting activity to be engaged at. You always get idea you never knew existed!

All in all, our activity for our Art Theory class was fun and quite wholesome. It would be fun to print out these post cards again and actually send them to random persons or a surprise for our friends and relatives.

Thanks for reading!

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