Heritage Series: the Filipino Entrepreneurs Sculpture

March 08, 2023

The Filipino Entrepreneurs sculpture has been transferred to the main entrance of the China Bank Savings Building for the appreciation of more people.

When I first set foot at the China Bank Savings Building, where I worked for four years, I immediately noticed a hidden yet attention-grabbing piece of art at the bank’s back entrance. It somehow looked like a boat and from another angle, a large abstract piece of machinery. I couldn't really fully appreciate its beauty because it was in a dark and cramped corner of the building.

The Filipino Entrepreneurs Sculpture at China Bank Savings Building

Heritage Series: the Filipino Entrepreneurs Sculpture


Later on, I learned from a colleague that the hammered brass sculpture is called Filipino Entrepreneurs, a masterpiece by National Artist Dr. Abdulmari Asia, Imao Sr. (January 14, 1932 to December 16, 2014), and pays tribute to local business owners for their dedication, innovation, and contribution to economic development.

Abdulmari Imao is a Tausug and is the first Moro to be bestowed the National Artist of the Philippines for Visual Arts title in 2006. He was born in Siasi, Sulu to a line of tokang or boat builders, whose craft dates back to the pre-Spanish era.

Dr. Abdulmari Imao the Filipino Entrepreneurs Sculpture

Dr. Imao was a sculptor, painter, photographer, and ceramist. Dr. Imao took pride in his heritage. As a matter of fact, his works mostly featured Tausug and Maranao elements, most notably okir, sarimanok, and the naga motifs.

The “Filipino Entrepreneurs” is considered to be one of Dr. Imao’s last important works. Among his previous works included the Sulu Warriors statues and stained glass murals at the Sulu Provincial Capitol, Sultan Kudarat Brass Mural at the PICC, and the Antonio Pigafetta Monument in Cebu City.

The restored and relocated Filipino Entrepreneurs sculpture
The restored and relocated "Filipino Entrepreneurs" sculpture

Just recently, the Filipino Entrepreneurs was transferred to the main entrance (Gil Puyat side) of the China Bank Savings Building so that more passersby as well as the rest of the Makati community can appreciate this wonderful piece of art. I was happy to know that because many people will get to see the sculpture as well as get to know its creator, Dr. Abdulmari Imao.

Dr. Imao's family that helped with the restoration of the Filipino Entrepreneurs sculpture

It was also given a new life, so to speak, when the family of Dr. Imao was commissioned to restore the artwork. It was polished to its original gold hue but one portion of it was kept faded to give it contrast. If you would like to see the Filipino Entrepreneurs for yourself and appreciate the genius of Dr. Imao, you may proceed to the China Bank Savings Building located at 314 Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue, Makati City.

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