One of the basic definitions of art is that it is not natural. Art is a work created by man. Momo Dalisay bends this definition. He works in collaboration with nature.
Perched on the side of a hill in Lawigan, San Joaquin, South of Iloilo City, overlooking the rocky coast is Momo Dalisay’s “Balay Kaliwat”. The structure itself speaks of the way of life the artist lives – like a seed one with nature.
Visitors are greeted by cement sculptures playfully swing to the sound of the sea breeze. The stairs are outlined by endemic plants. There is a tree that bears curious tiny ephemera as fruits. There is a wind chime made of kitchenware. Each of the objects tells their own story. The birds sing in chorus with them.
Momo Dalisay’s name was heard in Iloilo City, along with his folk songs. Just like other musicians of his time, his music ring with social issues that still reverberate in today’s generation. “Bakya mo Neneng“, a song he made with his group Ulihing Tubo, is about the plight of an OFW in Saudi Arabia.
Balay Kaliwat is a house that is almost not built but more planted on the ground. Pillars stretch towards the sky. Roof like a leaf that shades the pillars and protects the dweller. A huge Balete tree stands in the staircase gracefully welcoming visitors. The wind serves as natural air conditioning. Inside are books and artworks that Momo Dalisay has collected over the years.
Momo Dalisay’s body of work as a visual artist include sculptures, drawings, and paintings. He uses using coral stones, cement, and wood to create sculptures. Some of them call to mind oriental symbolism. Some of them depict rural life. His installations are made using found objects, each has their own story but harmonized in one image. The Balay Kaliwat itself is an artwork that Momo Dalisay made in collaboration with nature. When an artist immerses himself with nature he will indeed bloom.
For better a view most of his works which are mostly displayed in Balay Kaliwat, click on these links: