ed defensor
My World of Art
multi-media visual artist of Iloilo City,
Philippines
THE
DONATO M. PISON
MONUMENT
     The Donato M.Pison Monument is a tribute of the Pison clan of Iloilo  to their Grand Patriarch, the late Donato M. Pison, the man responsible for starting the fortune and way of life of the Pison families of Iloilo. It is located at a rotunda of Baranggay San Rafael, Mandurriao, Iloilo City, at one of the properties of Kapideco (Kautoran Pison Development Company), the company owned by the Pison clan.
     It is in reality the original chimney of the first sugar cane mill put up by the old patriarch to start his business. As in old chimneys, it is made of bricks, cement and terracotta.
    The monument, measuring approximately 30 feet consists of three layers. A rounded bottom layer, a smaller square second layer, and the chimney itself as the third and uppermost layer.
     The bottom and second layers are adorned with relief sculptures which I conceived and designed and which later were sculpted by Fred Orig, Harry Mark Gonzales and yours truly. The rounded bottom layer I conceived to depict, in one combined sweep, the four enterprises engaged in by the Patriarch in building his fortune. These are namely, Sugar Cane Farming, Rice Farming, Fishpond Farming and Salt Making. On the second layer these four enterprises are again depicted in relief but respectively distributed on the four sides of the layer.
    Originally though this was not the original plan. The Kapideco merely wanted to put up the chimney as their form of tribute to their Grand Patriarch.  And that was all. How it came to be an art monument and an icon of Iloilo City, aside from being a tribute to their Grand Patriarch is quite an interesting story.
  I have posted the story of this in my Facebook Timeline as early as when I got approval of the project proposal from Mr. Victor Pison, Corporate Manager of Kapideco. My account:

01. The chimney as it was being put up...
                                                       My One Great Shot at Immortality!

At the middle of a major thoroughfare in the new uptown of Iloilo City, the future site of the Megaworld City, near the site of the Ateneo de Iloilo, there is a structure being built which gives wonderment to a lot of motorists.  At closer scrutiny the structure looks like nothing more but the chimney of an old sugar mill.
Well, the truth is, it was!
But why is it being put up there?

I later learned that the structure was actually a monument to the great patriarch of the Pison family, Donato M. Pison, who owned a great part of the estate of that area (actually, the site of the new Ateneo de Iloilo is a donation from his estate), and who started his fortune with a sugarcane mill. The original chimney of that mill is now the structure that is being put up there to honor him.

Every time I pass that area, my mind would always wonder what could be done to make that monument more fitting, understandable and aesthetic. Considering that it will be situated at the heart of the new Iloilo City, and considering further that it's such a huge monument, I just could not resist the idea of making a project proposal to the Pison Company which is undertaking the project.

And so I did. And the proposal basically was to make the monument not only a fitting one but an artistic one as well, and which will be the first of its kind in Iloilo City after the Arroyo fountain which was built a long, long time ago.
And so I submitted the following virtual proposals: relief sculptures and bronze plaques to adorn the pedestal and base of the chimney.

Well, to make this long story short, my project proposal has been approved. And right....it will be my One Great Shot at Immortality! As I look forward to starting the project, together with two artist friends--Fred Orig and Mark Gonzales-- whom I recruited to join me in the project, I just want to share my extreme happiness with you, my friends!

02. Although there were already the two bottom layers, there was however still no plan for it...They were merely meant to be support for the chimney...
03, 04.  Two of the digital concepts that I presented to the Kapideco....and which it later approved...
Work on the relief sculptures started on July 2009...
Daily, for several months thereafter we toiled on the relief sculptures. By the third month we could already see concrete forms coming out and this gave us more inspiration to be more passionate about our work....
The basic medium used for the relief sculptures was reinforced concrete--steel and wire mesh combined with cement...
03.  After the engineers and the workers finished the whole structure it was then that we started working on the relief sculptures....