Napoleón Abueva

Napoleón Abueva
“Father of Modern
Philippine Sculpture”
Victoria M. Prieto
His Life
Born on January 26, 1930 in Tagbilaran City, Bohol, Philippines
Whole name: Napoleón Isabelo Veloso-Abueva
Nickname: Billy
Parents: Teodoro Abueva – A Bohol congressman
Purificacion (Nena) Veloso - President of the Women’s
Auxiliary Service
Spouse: Sergia (Cherry) Abueva – A psychiatrist
Children: Amihan, Mulawin, Duero
Siblings: Teodoro (Teddy) Jr. – now in New York
Purificacion (Neny) – deceased
Jose Abueva – former President of UP
Amelia Martinez (Inday) – now in Chicago
Teresita (Ching) Floro – now in Sydney
Antonio (Tony) – landscape artist. He was aboard the Princess of
the Orient that was on it’s way to Cebu during
tropical storm Vicki (1998) and it sunk less than an hour after
departure. His body still has not been found.
Highlight of His Childhood
• In 1943, during WWII, his
parents were taken by
the Japanese, tortured,
and killed in Valencia,
Bohol. He was only 14
then and he was tortured
for more than a week. He
lost his front teeth and
his bruises took weeks to
As a young boy, he studied at Tagbilaran Elementary School, and later at
University of Southern Philippines, Holy Name University, and Rafael Palma
College (now known as the University of Bohol)
Took Fine Arts in UP after getting the Pura Villanueva-Kalaw Scholarship in
1951 and graduated 1953.
Followed by a Fulbright-Smith Scholarship (international educational
exchange in US) in 1954-55.
Then he got a foreign Students Scholarship at the University of Kansas from
1955-56. At the same time, he also won a scholarship for Instituto de Allende
in Mexico City but put it down due to conflict in schedule.
Also in 1955, he finished his Masters in Fine Arts at the Cranbook Academy
of Arts in the United States. In 1956, he attended Harvard University for yet
another scholarship grant.
* Fun Fact: At U.P, one of his mentors was Guillermo Tolentino, also a
national artist, who created the Oblation at the university entrance .
Tolentino later relegated to him the task of replicating the sculpture for the
Campus of U.P. Los Banos.
• Uses both academic representation
and modern abstract.
• Used hard wood (molave, acacia,
langka wood, ipil, kamagong, palm
wood and bamboo), adobe, metal,
stainless steel, cement, marble,
bronze, iron, alabaster, coral and
• Among the early innovations
Abueva introduced in 1951 was
what he referred to as "buoyant
sculpture" -- sculpture meant to be
appreciated from the surface of a
placid pool.
• He used to teach at Industrial
Design department of De La Salle
College of St. Benilde School of
Arts and Design before his stroke.
First Prize, Sculptural Exhibition by the Art Association of the Philippines (1951)
First Prize in the Fifth Annual Art Exhibition (1952)
First Prize and Special Award on the Fourth Sculptural Exhibition (1952)
Awardee, "The Unknown Political Prisoner" in the International Sculpture Competition
by the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (1953)
First Prize and Special Award, Kaganapan (Marble), in the Semi-Annual Art Exhibition by
the Art Association of the Philippines (1953)
First Prize, "Kiss of Judas" (Wood) in the Religious Art Exhibition in Detroit, Michigan,
USA (1955)
Purchase Prize, "Water Buffalo" (Marble), in the Annual Show, at St. Louis, Missouri,
USA (1956)
First Prize, "Figure" (Wood) in the Annual Show of the Art Association of the Philippines
Most Outstanding Alumnus of the School of Fine Arts, U.P. Golden Jubilee (1958)
Republic Award for Sculpture (1959)
Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Philippines (TOYM) Awardee in Sculpture (1959)
Winner, U.P. Gateway Design Competition (1962)
Winner, Cultural Heritage Award (1966)
ASEAN Awards for Visual Arts in Bangkok (1987)
Fourth ASEAN Achievement Award for Visual Arts in Singapore (July 1995).
• Kaganapan (1953)
• Kiss of Judas (1955)
• Siyam na Diwata ng
Sining (Nine Muses)
• The Transfiguration
(1979) –Eternal Garden
Memorial Park
• Sunburst (1994) –
Manila Peninsula
• Sandugo or Blood Compact Shrine -Bohol
• A mural of the death
march done on marble
Other well known Art pieces
30 pieces of Silver
UP Gateway (1967)
UP Faculty Center
the bronze figure of Teodoro M. Kalaw in front of National
• and murals in marble at the National Heroes Shrine, Mt.
Samat, Bataan