Photo by: LB Times
Artist Jun Yee carves Sculpture Garden in UPLB

Art, culture, and nature – these three thrive together in the UPLB Sculpture Garden, located past the Animal Husbandry arc at the UPLB Institute of Animal Science. Bearing the fruit of nationally renowned artist Junyee’s creative direction, the garden was turned over in a ceremony held on April 4 at the Sculpture Garden’s Pavilion. 

Luis “Junyee” Yee, Jr., fondly referred to as the “Father of Installation Art in the Philippines”, recounted the decade-long journey of the project. The idea sprouted about twelve years ago through the initiatives of Dr. Emil Javier and then-UPLB Chancellor Luis Rey Velasco, he said.

“When I finished 12 sculptures, I looked at the area and thought: parang bitin pa,” he retold. “And the 12 sculptures became 20 sculptures,” he said, expressing how happy he was doing them that he found himself dipping into his own pockets to finish the project.

Junyee also expressed his gratitude to Senator Loren Legarda, whose valuable support played an instrumental role in the project’s culmination.

Senator Legarda, who led the unveiling and turnover ceremony, spoke about her shared passion for art, culture, and the environment with artist Yee. This is what led her to collaborate with him and the university for the project, through which she hoped to “advocate awareness and appreciation of our cultural heritage, environmental conservation, and the beauty of Filipino artistry.”

UPLB Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs Roberto Cereno, who welcomed the guests, expressed his excitement in unveiling the project. “Ito ay isang klase ng repurposing,” he said, referring to how the space made use and found beauty again in the ruins that used to be part of the Animal Husbandry division. 

Meanwhile, in his message, UPLB Chancellor Jose Camacho, Jr., recalled the launching of UPLB’s fifth AGORA Core Area called ‘Social Justice and Cultural Flourishing’ in February. “This garden is a monument to that,” he said, reiterating UPLB’s commitment to establishing a haven for the arts and artists and as a catalyst for positive change.

UP President Angelo Jimenez also virtually congratulated UPLB and the artists. “This garden is living evidence of the power of collaboration and synergy where individuals from diverse backgrounds come together to create something truly remarkable,” he said in a recorded video.The UPLB Sculpture Garden features a range of old and new art installations, all of which aim to bring to light relevant social issues, including the ‘Balag and Angud’, ‘Bantayog ng Wika’, ‘Bagong Binhi’, ‘Ugnayan’, ‘Balanghay’, and ‘Makiling’. (Juvelle P. Villanueva; Photos by Alexander Abas and Martin Louise Tungol)

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