Abdulmari Imao

Abdulmari Imao

National Artist Dr. Abdulmari Imao is considered the most “Asian” of National Artists. His pioneering practice uses recurring folk motifs drawn from his Sulu heritage, which connects to the wider world of Southeast Asian mythological traditions. Thus, this consistent and successful usage of folk themes goes beyond the clichéd appropriation of genre scenes common in Philippine art—creating and assuming Southeast Asian archetypes to retell the myths and legends of the culture of his birth. His most familiar motif, for example, that of the Sarimanok is essentially a link to that story of a rooster in the first of seven heavens. That same motif persists in different Southeast Asian cultures—the serpent naga of Malaysia, the most evident example. These regional thematic linkages set the practice of Imao apart in the Philippine art community as something truly unique.

Imao’s art represents a visual rendering of the Philippines’ place within the community of Southeast Asian art and characterizes an important aspect of the national artistic trajectory.


Sarimanok Series

Sarimanok Series
Acrylic on Canvas
28 x 18 in


Sarimanok Series

Sarimanok Series
Acrylic on Canvas
24 x 24 in


Marine Series I

Marine Series I
Acrylic on Canvas
48 x 72 in


Sarimanok Series

Sarimanok Series
Acrylic on Canvas
24 x 24 in


Sarimanok Series

Sarimanok Series
Acrylic on Canvas
36 x 60 in