Thomas Merton said, “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time”. That it is through expressions that we see beyond the obvious and experience a reality that rivals the very notion of a dream. And for Rey Mujahid Ponce Millan or Kubali as he is known, art gave him a reason to allow the world to see the many faces and facets of reality.
Kahidlaw sa Kagikan exhibit is a homecoming for Kublai and his artworks. Held at the Gaisano Mall of Tagum, the exhibit was open to the public from March 19-24,2018.
He carved his name through the numerous gigantic public art installations found all over Mindanao. Each piece spoke of the beautiful and colorful people and culture of the island. Not to mention, the traditions that make Mindanao an island like no other. To him, and to us, Mindanao truly is more than just a tourist destination — it is home. Our home. As such, the pieces were not just about his skills but also his way of informing and educating the people about Mindanao.
He was born in the multi-ethnic city of Cotabato while his childhood was spent in Tagum City before their family opted to move to Davao City. At present, he and his family are residing in Davao.
Despite him growing up all over Mindanao, he also spent some time in the national capital. There, he would compete with some of the best minds in visual communications. Despite such, Kublai was unsatisfied and craved for more. His soul felt robbed of creativity hence the move back to Davao. Being that he felt frustrated, he then lashed out his creative juices onto poetry, paintings and created giant sculptures. Some of which are displayed at the family owned, Ponce Suites.
A tourist hotel located in the heart of downtown Davao, the displays at Ponce Suites depicted a beautiful creation that warranted an interaction and immersion that Mindanaoans are able to relate to. Much more, enable the viewers to be moved and relate to them.
His monuments and sculptures all over Mindanao, together with his Yolanda monuments found in Leyte, are well researched tableaus of what is worth remembering about the people, the places and everything that makes Mindanao even more interesting as it. Believe it or not, many will agree that his pieces are real gems that warrants the depiction of hope and yes, love.
After a while of foregoing the use of colors, he began painting again in 2008 — after he has substantially created a number of monuments. Such then highlighted the immense beauty of nature, people and yes, Mindanao in general.
Kublai’s first and longest-running series (Probinsaya) depicts how life is in the province. It showcases how indigenous people live on a daily basis, how farming has greatly affected their way of life, looking at village folks to let then feel important. Probinsya means province while saya means joy.
His Kahidlaw sa Kagikan exhibit is a celebration. A celebration of the many instances and accidents that contributed to what Mindanao is now. The exhibit allowed the world to realise that life is indeed colorful. That life is a great mystery that needs not be solved but instead, lived.
Together with him were Compostela Valley Board Member Hon. Vivencia Secuya, Davao del Norte Board Member Atty. Joey Millan, CEO & HIJO Resources Corporation Rosana Tuason- Forest, Ambassador to the Vatican and others.
Also in attendance were Chairperson for the Provincial Women Development Council, Kublai’s teacher Arturo Bandong and Tagum City Councilor Ester Lee Anggoy. Of which, Councilor Anggoy welcomed everyone to Kublai’s exhibit.
The ribbon cutting of Kublai’s Kahidlaw sa Kagikan exhibit was well attended by the people of Tagum City, Davao City and visiting foreigners that will soon call Davao home.
Kublai was named Outstanding Alumni on Culture and the Arts by the University of the Philippines Alumni Association (UPAA) for 2015.