Art, Exhibit, Lobby, UP Vargas Museum, West Wing Gallery (Edge)

Messenger of the Gods: A Duddley Diaz Retrospective

Messenger of the Gods

A Duddley Diaz Retrospective

8 August to 30 October 2009

GF, The Lobby and The Edge Galleries


The UP Jorge B. Vargas Museum in cooperation with Galleria Duemila presents the exhibit Messenger of the Gods: A Duddley Diaz Retrospective which opens on 8 August 2009, Saturday, 4:00 PM at the Lobby and Edge Galleries (G/F of the UP Vargas Museum).

The exhibit will feature various works representing significant themes and periods in the development of Italy-based sculptor Duddley Diaz. The title refers to the artist’s passion for religious and mythological themes and the recurrence of the owl figure which, in some cultures, is a symbol of wisdom and believed to be messengers of the gods.

The exhibit will feature his earliest works that date back from 1974 when, as an 11 year-old boy, he created small figures of Christ, the Virgin Mary, and different saints out of modeling clay and found objects. With the recommendation of the late Lucrecia Kasilag, then President of the CCP, Duddley apprenticed under National Artist Napoleon Abueva before entering the UP College of Fine Arts.  At UP, he also studied under Roberto Chabet and met fellow sculptors Agnes Arellano and Peter de Guzman.  Immediately after completing his fine arts degree, he was granted a scholarship at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence, Italy where he pursued graduate studies for 8 years. He has since lived in the Tuscan region but regularly holds exhibits in Manila.

Sculpture is one of the indigenous art forms in the Philippines and remains a constant and significant part of contemporary art practice. Although compared to two-dimensional forms such as painting and printmaking, fewer artists have taken on the challenge of this medium. Duddley Diaz is one of those few artists.  He works with different sculptural mediums namely clay, wood, cast bronze, marble, silver, and ox bone.

Based in Florence, Italy for 25 years, his works are enriched by indigenous and colonial Philippine traditions and its parallels with Etruscan and Italian cultures. It is this blending of the Philippine and the European, of the past and the present, that makes Duddley a strong voice in contemporary sculpture making. His works are also strongly influenced by religion – whether from indigenous and animistic beliefs or from Catholic and colonial traditions. As Dr. Alice Guillermo puts it, “the semiotics of form and style in Diaz’s religious work – its very medium and execution – gives rise to complex signification associated with his personal view of religion, and, indeed, of religious art as a whole.”It is this constant revisiting and re-visioning of past cultures and traditions with contemporary living and society that Duddley creates familiar yet new iconography.

The exhibit will run until 30 October 2009. The Museum is open on Tuesdays to Sundays, 9 am to 4 pm.  For more information, please contact the UPVM at numbers 981-8500 loc. 4034 (UP trunkline), 928-1927 (direct line), 928-1925 (fax), or send an e-mail to The Museum’s official website may be viewed at

The exhibit is also made possible with the support of its major sponsors: Jewellry Salon, Philippine-Italian Foundation, Tantoco Rustia Foundation; and also brought to you by Furn Italia,  Icon Graphics, Metrobank, UP Office for Initiatives in Culture and the Arts, and Ralph’s Wines and Spirits.


About Jorge B. Vargas Museum

It aims to preserve its collection donated by Jorge B. Vargas and conducts research, exhibitions, publications, and educational programs. The Vargas Museum and Filipiniana Research Center houses a museum, archives, and library devoted to the Philippine history, art, and culture from the late 19th century until the post-war era. Its main beneficiaries are students, faculty, researchers and scholars of the Philippines and Asia.


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