Ancient Caraga warriors transformed into art

By RJS

Artists studied and affirmed the past, and comes up with a creative expression honoring their ancestors and culture.

The “Kalagans”, the brave and fearless warriors are forgotten tribal sons of Mindanao’s 16th century episode that helped usher in Christianization and prevented the Islamization of the whole island. Ancient Butuan was then the Spanish colonizers’ seat of power, whose influence spread far and wide, collected and raised warriors as far as Davao and Cotabato.

The “special native army” was feared for fierceness, bravery and “not afraid to die” image. Kalagans called “Caragans” by the Spaniards is taken from the word, “kalag’” which means soul or people. Thus, Caraga region was called by early missionaries and conquistadores as the “Land of the brave and fierce people”. Such dynamic and rich Caraga’s history.

Fast forward. Butuan visual artist and history buff Kit Gresos studied this piece of forgotten past and many others and came up with what he calls “historic statues” or inspired sculptural character pieces meant for appreciative crowd and collectors.

Definitely a one-of-a-kind creative gem from Butuan and Mindanao, and Gresos, the trail-blazing homegrown artist is bringing back the spirit of the times.

“I am getting orders even outside of Butuan. People want a Mindanao-wide souvenir because after all, the Kalagan warriors were the coming together of Mindanao,” says Gresos, who currently runs art firm Papelemento Art Gallery located at NB Building along Ochoa Avenue in Butuan City.

The acclaimed visual artist is known for his sensible works with a touch of historic authenticity and contemporary upbeat. Catch up his new creations in his new showroom at SM Butuan this December.

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