‘Maverick’ Duterte portrait hangs on Palace wall

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EVEN in his official portrait, President Rodrigo Duterte breaks conventions.
Duterte has chosen a portrait of himself seated, legs crossed, with his index and middle fingers on his right temple.

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Daryl de Leon Descallar

The portrait, done by Davao City-based painter Daryl de Leon Descallar, now hangs alongside those of the previous 15 Philippine Presidents at the Malacañang Reception Hall.

Descallar, 52, calls it “Digong Dekwatro,” a portrait that breaks the tradition of the
more formal poses of previous official portraits.

For his official portrait, Duterte tapped a group of Davao artists, Tabula Rasa Art Group Unlimited, three weeks before the inauguration, Descallar told blogger Julius Romel Fernandez, who broke the news on Wednesday in social media.

The new President had no time for a photo shoot, so Tabula Rasa was given a photo of a standing Duterte.

But Descallar and fellow artist Brando Cedeno thought the photo of a barong-clad Duterte in a “de kwatro” (cross-legged) pose, published on the cover of Asian Dragon magazine, was more in the tough-talking former mayor’s character.

The two artists made two paintings each. Descallar’s was chosen and now hangs on the wall of the grand Reception Hall, which is famous for its woodwork, the massive hardwood dining table of President Manuel Quezon, and three Czechoslovakian chandeliers acquired in 1937.

“Actually, we were more excited with the ‘Digong Dekwatro’ if you may call it [that]. It would be different than the other presidential portraits in Malacañang,” Descallar said in the interview published on Fernandez’s blog.

Descallar, a fine arts graduate of the University of Santo Tomas, retained elements found in recent presidential portraits made by Lulu Coching-Rodriguez: the Philippine flag and Presidential seal.

Coching-Rodriguez portrayed President Benigno Aquino 3rd with arms crossed.
Descallar said he wanted his work to be more like a painting than a photograph, and “well-lit.”

“Miss Lulu is an excellent artist. I had to look at the past presidential portraits and see what patterns they maintained as a standard for a presidential portrait,” he said.

Aside from Coching Rodriguez, other artists who have painted official portraits of Philippine Presidents were Fernando Amorsolo, Galo Ocampo, Antonio Garcia Llamas, Romeo Enriquez and Policarpio Caparas.

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