Danny C. Sillada and the Metaphors of Dreams and Existence
By Reuben Ramas Cañete, Monograph
My life in a Cage (self portrait),1995, oil on canvas by Danny Castillones Sillada
COURGE KNOWS THOSE who willingly face death, and walk calmly away from it, determined to live. The formation of a personality so imbued with insight as to balance fatalism with supremacy of human agency can only come, in hindsight, to those who have gone through the worst, and lived to tell us about it, their conviction of a greater force confirmed after such a greater catharsis.
Such is the fertile earth, soaked through with the nourishing drink of sacred blood that the people of Mindanao tread upon. Blessed with the fruits of the Great Mother, its lands, waters and air is consecrated by the sacrifice that its inhabitants fought for in half a millennium of unceasing struggle.
It is in the context of such flux of social convulsions within the walls of Eden that the reproduction of an etherealized re-existence is made more telling, more urgent indeed is the task that the dreamers of its tribes must weave to bring balance to the forces locked within. One such dreamer is D.C. Sillada, whose quest for fulfillment and meaning of existence, after undergoing great struggles, spans a saga that would rival Dante’s, or for that matter, Indaraparta’s.
Hounded by the demons of manic-depressive syndrome, D.C. Sillada’s journey is punctuated by the tragedies of domestic death (his father’s, his youngest brother’s, his favorite niece’s, his only sister’s), set in counterpoint to the way posts, which gave him a comforting if brief fulfillment. Among them were the Church and the Corporate World, whom D.C. Sillada served if only to hush the satanic voices that rose within, trying to drown his resistance with the cacophony of biting pinpricks that ate at his soul.
Ultimately saved by the power of the Word, D.C. Sillada reveled in the force and majesty of poetry and philosophy that he used to banish the Palace of Pandemonium into the dark, tiny recess of the deepest subconscious where they should remain, guarded by the intricate locks of the ever-vigil Archangel of Reason. Scarred, though, is his soul, D.C. Sillada turns to the Muse of Art for healing and ritual exorcism. In his own words, D.C. Sillada avers, “… I offer my psychological self as I strip my soul naked through the complex and perturbing imagery of my art. The dark shadow of my soul emerges through my aesthetic creation like a sordid metaphor between dreams and reality.”
It is the empowering practice in capturing the demons of his inner being through visual association and entrapment that D.C. Sillada emerges as an artist of expressive potential and autobiographical force. His art represents not some fancified, soulless object that injects its complicity within the arrogated space of the dictating decorator, but as a liberating device that explores the depth of his tortured subconscious by exploring the relationship between symbolism and experience resulting, at the end, in an apocalyptic stand against the evils that drive humans to the Purgatory of Despair.
The resultant images are culled from manifold, eclectic sources, as diverse as his biographical experiences, and the polyglotality of the embedded culture of the Mindanaoan: a general air of hyperspatiality studded with the more everyday visualizations of terrestrial environments, reminiscent of the surreal hyperspaces of Yves Tanguy, E.M. Escher, Reñe Magritte and Paul Delvaux.
The persistent patterning device, primarily globes and curvilinear motifs that both unify exploding hyperspace, relates it directly to the indigenous geomorphication of D.C. Sillada’s socio-cultural milieu, counterbalances the objectivist defiance of gravitational certainty. In their epicenters stand D.C. Sillada, either stripped and caged, or loosened but transmogrified into one-eyed beasts that stare blankly at the violated logic of an upside-down, reversed-spirit universe?
The logic of surrealism presupposes both its visualization of dreams, and its attempted exorcism of nightmares. Either way, it asks for a defining element: the relations between the visualizer and the viewer. Its aleatory sub-principles subvert the normalizing praxis of soloism, and bring the Other into the world of the One. As a result, this tense counterbalancing spreads out and encompasses, speaks of, the journeys of all who pass through this earth.
In defining its stand, however, D.C. Sillada’s works re-function the discursive parameter away from a simplified existence, and points the way toward a more general conditions of life – that is, the understanding of reason is not to accept a preordained notion unsuspectingly, but to accept it with total epistemological certainty, accepting both the good and bad, and choosing, as it has always been, to do better.
In this Beginning of New Days, D.C. Sillada turns our attention away from the failed formula of finding fulfillment in concepts that are alien, monopolistic and unsuited to one’s culture, and restores us to a diverse world where all beings are seen as equally worthy, each one an Adam and Eve who returns to Eden to make peace with the Creator, and more importantly, with themselves.
About the author:
Reuben Ramas Cañete, PhD., is a Filipino art critic and professor in Humanities, University of the Philippines.
How to cite this article:
Cañete, Reuben Ramas. “Danny Sillada and the Metaphors of Dreams and Existence Exhibit." A monograph on the Metaphors and Dreams exhibit. 1999-2000.
Online link to Asia Art Archive: http://www.aaa.org.hk/Collection/Details/20168