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Art, Anime, and History at Ayala Museum

If you happen to pass by Ayala Museum recently, you may have chanced upon a massive art installation located just outside it. And if you are one of those who grew up during the Martial Law era and loved the Japanese robot animes of the 1970s, especially that certain anime called Voltes V, this artpiece should grab your attention even more.

Even if you are neither of those but is someone who is at least familiar with the story of Voltes V in the Philippines, this work by Toym Imao should be of interest.

The art work is entitled “Last, Lost, Lust for Four Forgotten Episodes,” a work originally made by Imao in 2014 and was prominently displayed before at the steps of the Palma Hall building in the University of the Philippines campus in Diliman. Through the efforts of Ayala Museum and its Openspace initiative, (which aims to promote art outdoors providing greater access and interaction) Imao’s work has found a new venue where it can be seen by more people though only for a limited time.

The son of National Artist Abdulmari Imao, Toym Imao, like many youth who grew up during the Martial Law days, found entertainment watching English-dubbed Japanese anime that were being shown on Philippine television. In particular, he was one of the many of that time who watched and became fond of the robot anime series Voltes V. So when the Marcos government decided to ban the airing of this series due to supposed “extensive violence,” many kids, Imao included, felt bad about it. But on a deeper level, it was also how children like him first got acquainted to the realities as to what Martial Law was all about.

Thus, this 13-foot installation fuses elements from that classic Japanese anime with 1970s Philippine political overtones like Pres. Ferdinand Marcos as a bust in the form of a Boazanian tyrant and figures of 5 children (reminiscent of the 5 members of the Voltes V team) gearing up to fight the figure. This was Imao’s way of transforming into art the experiences he had as a child growing in that particularly dark chapter in Philippine history. At the same time, it has a level of geekery, political history education, and a sense of awe looking at it.

As was mentioned earlier, this work can be viewed at the Ayala Museum Plaza for a limited time, until June 15 to be precise. So do check out, geek out and be educated as well.


Acknowledgements as well to the Philippine Daily Inquirer and


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