Ang Kiukok

Paintings by Ang Kiukok

Born in March of 1931 in Davao City Philippine Islands, Ang Kiukok was a painter known for his expressive, Cubist works. He often chose dynamic or disturbing subject matters, which frequently depicting rabid dogs, crucifixions, and screaming figures in an abstracted geometric style. Ang’s work gained both critical and commercial success in the Philippines throughout the 1960s.

Ang’s initial training began at an early age, when he was taught by a local commercial artist the art of charcoal drawing. After his family’s move to Manila, he attended the University of Santo Tomas from 1952 to 1954, where he studied under Filipino cubist painter Vincente Manansala. Ang’s first formal recognition of his work occurred in 1953 when his “Calesa” achieved third prize at the Shell National Students Art Competition. With encouragement from Manansala, he had his first solo show at Manila’s Contemporary Arts Gallery in 1954. Subsequent shows earned Ang many awards from the Art Association of the Philippines. 

Ang Kiukok gained national prominence in the 1960s with his distinctive style which fused aspects of cubism, surrealism, and expressionism.  His work favored subjects as rabid dogs, fighting cocks, and figures either bound in chains or experiencing great rage. Although Ang did not have a reputation as a critic of the Ferdinand Marcos government, the most violent and gruesome images were painted during Marcos’s reign of martial law. 

Ang Kiukok was given the honor of being a National Artist for Visual Arts in 2001, by vitue of Presidential Proclamation No. 32, which was signed on April 20 of 2001 by President Gloria Arroyo. By the end of his life, Ang was not only a critical success but also a commercially popular one. He died in Quezon City, Philippines, in May of 2001 at the age of seventy-four.

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