José Rizal Monument, 1999
From the website: Chicagopublicart.blogspot.com
Manilito T. “Antonio” T. Mondejar
4793 N. Marine Drive, in the park west of Lake Shore Drive on axis with West Leland Avenue
In 1994, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Philippine Independence, local members of the Order of the Knights of Rizal and Ladies of Rizal began to campaign for a monument in Lincoln Park. Money from Chicagoans of Filipino heritage was donated to create a recast of a monument, also by artist Mondejar, that stands at the Rizal Shrine at Dapitan, in Zamboanga, Mindanao, Philippines. In 1999, a parade was held prior to unveiling this sculpture of Dr. José Rizal (1861-1896), a revolutionary martyr and Philippine hero.
Rizal was a doctor, artist, poet, essayist, novelist and political figure who was a proponent of independence though peaceful institutional reform rather than violence. He was the most prominent advocate for his country’s reform during the Spanish colonial era. He was executed on December 30, 1896, a day that is now celebrated as a national holiday in the Philippines.
From the Philipine Consulate General of Chicago website: http://chicagopcg.dfa.gov.ph/
The Dr. Jose Rizal monument located along Lake Shore Drive and Marine Drive between Lawrence and Wilson Avenue in front of Weiss Memorial Hospital in Chicago came about through the courtesy of the Philippine Government during the commemoration of the Centennial of Philippine Independence in 1998.
The unveiling of Dr. Jose Rizal monument was held on June 19, 1999. The project was the initiative and efforts of the Order of the Knights of Rizal and the Filipino-American community organizations. A plaque recognizing the project’s major benefactors was installed and displayed in nearby Margate Park Fieldhouse. Dr. Jose Rizal visited Chicago, Illinois on May 11, 1888 en-route to New York City. He arrived in Chicago at 8:14 a.m. and left the City on the same day at 8:25 p.m. The monument of our national hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal in Chicago is one of only two life size monuments in Continental U.S.A., and one of the six outside the Philippines. The other five locations are in Madrid, Spain; Wilhelmsfeld, Germany; Cherry Hill, New Jersey; Honolulu, Hawaii and Jinjiang, China.
From the artist’s Facebook page.
MANILITO T. MONDEJAR,LIto to his friends, aptly represents the ideal type of a FIlipino contemporary visual artist as he deftly combines the experiences of formal education, practical studio experiences and the enriching experiences derived from travels in foreign countries. Mondejar (b. 1960) is a Bachelor of Fine Arts Major in Sculpture graduate from the University of the Philippines at Diliman, with the national artist and pioneer of modern sculpture, Napoleon Abueva as one of his mentors. While still a student, Lito travelled to some European countries mainly to observe, explore and meditate on the world art scene. In Italy, his exposure to the works of the great 19th century classical sculptor Augusto Rodin made the most lasting impression on him. “The perception of forms in depth, not in the plane…creating sculptures that seem to grow inside out” Lito would quote one of Rodin’s working principles. This he has since internalized as one of his own.
Another influential figure in Mondejar’s career as a sculptor is the late Anastacio Caedo. Lito worked as his assistant scupltor for one and a half years. From the Maestro, he learned artistic discipline and systematic working habit. Through Caedo, Lito was also exposed to cold casting in bronze and bonded marble, the application of which is very evident in his works.
Lito was an active student leader in college, even becoming the first chairman of the college student council upon its revival in 1982. He was also an officer of a university based art organization, Lingkod-sining, the main objective of which was “to bring down the pedestal of art to the masses”, a very ambitious and idealistic goal but one which sparked in Lito a very strong sense of nationalism. After college, the nationalist in Lito became more manifest. He joined art groups with nationalist orientation and eventually got involved in various cause oriented institutions. His artistic skills were utilized in different endeavors.
He designed and supervised the collective productions of effigies which highlighted the culmination of protest actions during the hey-day of the Marcos regime. As a founding member and one time over-all coordinator of the Artist ng Bayan, he helped develop syllabus, curriculum and pedagogical aide for visual art workshops and helped organize visual art groups in various colleges in major cities in the country.
Mondejar’s collection of works consist of public art, free-standing and functional sculptures experimenting on technique and use of various materials like marble, terra cotta, volcanic rock, Mt.Pinatubo ash, molave and continues to explore new materials. Application of appropriate techniques in these wide range of medium is apparent.
The classical spirit is very distinct in the treatment of proportion and balance in his human figures. Moreover his themes are mostly that of a realist. The themes are derived from the events of contemporary life. Lito approaches his compositions in the style of expressionism, giving emphasis on the emotional quality of his figures.
Currently, he is a mentor and a teacher of the arts. He maintains a studio in Silang, Cavite and continues to do commissioned works.