A noted Baguio artist of the Ibaloy indigenous people group pays homage to his roots in a one man show featuring the original settlers of Kafagway and southern Benguet.
In Benguet: My People, Roland Bay-an dedicate 30 art works to the Ibaloy folks, who celebrated Ibaloy Day during his launching at Bookends on February 23. February 23 was the day when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Mateo Carantes of ownership of lands taken by the Americans when the foreigners made the city as Hill Station and Summer Capital.
Bay-an works explore the old Benguet and its people, called fondly shay mango, due to their shyness. Bay-an practically goes back to his Ibaloy roots of his youth spent in Kapangan and how his relatives there lived a simple life and shy away when they see him and his mom come home.
“From afar you see people, but once you reach their houses, everybody’s gone,” enthused Bay-an during a conversation.
Bay-an has few words or even none at all during opening of his shows or group exhibits letting the art works speak for itself.
The show, his sixth solo at Bookends, home of the Pasakalye Group of Artists, features 30 art works done in acrylic on canvas and of various sizes. It shows a woman with a child, a woman with her enamel cup of coffee, or some women working at the farm, planting, tending, harvesting or on their way home after a day in the farm.
His work, especially those in the fields, are dream-like, fogged it seem, his subjects having faces hard to discern, his style gained from years that traces its roots from the school of impressionism.
Born and raised in Baguio, when they could catch jujus at streams and was safe also to swim, Bay-an found drawing a hobby as a kid which was discouraged by his parents saying that it will get him nowhere.
He took up architecture in college but quit after a year to work as a bodegero at Sunshine owned by Sonny and Betty del Rosario, the latter is from Kapangan who took under her fold many youngsters from said town to work for them and go to school at the same time.
Then he moved to Bayanihan Hotel to work as a room boy and later as waiter at Dainty Lunch Café where he was highly sought for for his skills in predicting draws in jueteng.
“I have always loved numbers and good at it,” demurred Bay-an, whose father is a Chinese.
By then, he was already into arts, painting then stones. “As a kid, I had been fascinated by stones and would go to the streams to see rocks and stones,” he said. His fascination in stones that became his first subjects in art.
Being good at numbers made him also a good chess player that spare time his spent at the Igorot Park where he play games of chess with guys who love to hustle.
His being called a master is not only because he is an artist of high caliber, but being good at chess also.
His Benguet: My People works can also be seen online.
Great achievements !