Art That Awakens: An Artist’s Story Of Simplification

The exhibition is about community stories told through and encapsulated in figures, lines, and colors.

This is an excerpt from Lifestyle Asia’s September 2023 Issue.

Art is a powerful avenue for society. It has the ability to disrupt the harmony of society— art can also build and awaken a community. Thousands of artists create artworks for certain crowds, but only a few can mobilize people and influence their way of life.

On the southern island of the Philippines, an artist that goes by the name of Kublai Millan is creating an impression. Making Mindanao his home turf, Millan creates larger-than-life sculptures and installations that tell the story of a community. Every stroke of his painting tells a story, every idea for his sculptures contains real-life experiences, and he fulfills a purpose for every art piece he makes.

Kublai Millan
Kublai Millan/ Photo courtesy of Art Lounge Manila

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Southern Representation

Aside from his current exhibit and the large sculptures he made all over Mindanao, Millan is also known for championing underrepresented communities through his art. One of his greatest accolades as an artist for the people is the establishment of the Mindanao Art Fair. He is one of the main founders and organizers of the said festival. He explained that even during the pandemic, he and his team made sure to push through with the art fair to help and support the struggling artists on the island.

"The Sun Above" by Kublai Millan
The Sun Above” / Photo courtesy of Art Lounge Manila

Aside from the establishment of the Mindanao Art Fair, Millan also creates art that helps communities. When there was a mass killing in one of the communities, he was tasked to build a sculpture. Such sculptures would commemorate those who passed. With his wits and passion for helping, he went above and beyond creating art by using the sculpture as a catalyst for community development.

"Sum of Symbols 24" by Kublai Millan
“Sum of Symbols 24” / Photo courtesy of Art Lounge Manila

Millan describes Summa as the Sum Of All Symbols, but his art transcends lines and figures. He touches communities and empowers them through the medium of creation. He is truly an artist of the people and for the people.

Read more by purchasing a copy of the Lifestyle Asia September 2023 magazine via or select newsstands in National Bookstore and Fully Booked. Subscribe to the E-Magazine via Readly, Magzter, and Press Reader.

Banner photo courtesy of Art Lounge Manila.

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