Sultan Mango-san

Sultan Mango-san

In reclaiming and continuing traditional craft, Sultan learned rattan weaving while living in Benguet, as did his father, and his late mother with back strap loom weaving. Although born and raised in Benguet, he traces his ethnolinguistic history to the Bontok and Kankanaey of Mountain Province.

He has been making pointillist figurative pen and ink drawings, including portraits of indigenous persons, since 2005. In 2015, he began meticulously painting textiles, rattan objects and traditional musical instruments on canvas. He attempts to respond to a reclamation of these objects from the valuations they are accorded as museum displays and souvenirs. For Sultan, it lends to a larger view of how these objects are regarded as they once were, in domestic indigenous ecologies, in subsistence economies, or in sustainable resource use. In depicting the details of the pieces, he goes into long meditative hours of repetitively painting minuscule lines, harking back to ancestral rhythms of craft making — whether a thread at a time on the warp of a loom, or one stone at a time on a rice terrace wall. The painted objects are rudimentary in form and contour but are always intricate. The way his paintings are composed allude to a deceptively simple randomness, an assuredness of place, and a vulnerability of meaning. They reveal where you should find them, genuinely placed in an Igorot home.