OY/YO a Symbol of NYC Multi-Lingualism

I fulfilled my personal promise that I would go around Brooklyn in case I would return to New York.  Brooklyn was the dynamic and remarkable borough I failed to visit the first time I toured NYC.

One goal out of this fulfilment was to check on the chic and chichi Brooklyn Museum, one of the largest and oldest museums in the United States.  But prior to entering the fine-looking museum, one would have to inescapably notice two giant letters.  It is unavoidably apparent because the figure is about 8 feet in height, 17 feet wide and it is flamboyantly bright yellow in color.

Entitled “OY/YO” by artist Deborah Kass is a giant pop-art sculpture that is part of the public art display of the Brooklyn Museum.  And everybody who got to step into the Brooklyn Museum for the first time, for sure, has a photo with this iconic sculpture.  I of course had mine!

Let me then relay my rumination about this piece of art.  OY/YO for me presents the onlooker with an abundance of meaning.  This seemingly simple yet humongous sculpture can resonate in different languages.  It can speak to onlookers may they have differing cultural, linguistic, social and ethnic background. 

Spanish speakers for one may read it as “I am” since YO is the Spanish word for I am.  But people from Portugal and Brazil may perceive it as saying “Hi” since OY is the Portuguese word for “hi”.  While Americans (especially African Americans) may see it differently because YO has evolved as a common and informal salutation among these people.  Yes, yes, Yo!

i admit, filipinos can sometimes be so american…

i prefer this one… because it got angst in the filipino tongue

In Somali OY is a word meaning vote!  Lithuanians and Yiddish speaking folks on the other hand may regard it as OY since Oy is the word they use for expressing disappointment and annoyance.  OY in Armenian, Uzbek and Azerbaijani according to Google translate is the English word for month. 

But for me, as a Filipino, OY/YO the sculpture would speak in both ways.  It is acceptable in both forms, as Oy and as Yo.  Similar to the American salutation, Filipino folks especially the hip-hop and rapper class would also use YO as an informal salutation.  It is like saying “Hey” in a friendly manner.

But once upset, irritated and wants to confront someone, Filipinos (may they belong to hip-hop, pop, disco, techno or other freaking genre) would address that someone as OY.  Oy is also like saying “Hey” but in an ill-mannered cheeky tone. And once Oy is uttered to you several times by a Filipino in a crude and threatening tone like Oy! Oy! Oy! Oy! Oy! This would mean you must have been caught from some kind of trouble and needs to pay for the repercussions that you seem to have done.

So it is just but fitting for OY/YO to actually be placed and exhibited in NYC, Brooklyn Museum in particular.  It is because NYC is considered the cultural melting pot of the planet.  Everybody in NYC seem to know and speak a second language. And OY/YO the sculpture can symbolize the multi-linguistic representation of everyone in NYC.  I am so fortunate to have bumped into such a vivacious kind of a sculpture.

And if OY/YO would have the opportunity to visit Manila, this sculpture would definitely be a big talk of the town because it has meanings and can definitely resonate something to a Filipino like me.

Yes, yes, yo! Oy, oy, oy!

Stupendous Artechouse

When I was in Washington D.C. I tried searching for the quintessential place, piece or circumstance that I can share in my social media account (particularly in my unpopular Instagram) that would ultimately launch and make it in-style, so-prevalent and too-widespread.

I then found Artechouse.  It is some sort of like a seasonal museum and an art pop-up project with huge multiple projectors all over the wall.   On the time of my visit, the exhibit’s theme was fittingly about Cherry Blossoms since it is cherry blossoms season in D.C.  Artechouse named it “In Peak Bloom”

Here’s what I got and hope you click and check it out!

Artechouse’s stupendous #inpeakbloom exhibit brought something that is difficult to describe.  It is some sort of a contemporary art that seem to have been mixed with theater, music, film and technology that is interactive in nature.

Unluckily and as usual, this post only garnered few likes in my Instagram and it didn’t made me popular.  Though my Instagram remained unpopular and bleakly received I realize that this failure didn’t made me less of a person.  But In Peak Bloom exhibit, I guess brought in me some colorful peace with bundles and bundles of joy and gladness. I was stupendously pleased to have seen and experienced it! 

Ang hindi mag-click ng Instagram post ko na yan, Panget! Hahaha!

Giant Blue Cock

Except for chicken in a form of cooked food, I never imagined that I would be able to feature a chicken in this blog on a different form.

Welcome then to a giant blue cock sculpture by artist Katharina Fritsch entitled Hahn/Cock.  I happen to have found this completely cobalt blue of an art piece on the rooftop terrace of the east building of National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.

I honestly don’t know the significance, the logic and the wisdom for this piece of art.  But if its point is to simply let its onlookers to marvel and take photos of it so that it can be posted by every viewer’s personal Instagram account, then the artist I suppose has been very successful on its intention.

Hahn/Cock the artwork truly is something… some say it is something feminist in nature while others say that it is a symbol of strength and awakening.  For me, it is simply one giant blue cock that is kinky in context and biological in perspective.

Ano kayang lasa nyan kapag in-afritada.

Red-Faced by the Thomas Jefferson Building

Upon my arrival in Washington D.C. I was super glad to find out that my Bed & Breakfast accommodation is just near the U.S. Capitol Building.  It was only a five minute walk.  That is why after checking-in, dropping my luggage and having no time to waste, I immediately headed to this imposing building.

It was barely 30 minutes before the U.S Capitol visitor center closes that is why I opted not to enter and instead roam the grounds and marvel myself from the beauty and grandeur of the said building.

My carnal body and itchy feet however led me to a gorgeous building just across the U.S. Capitol.  It was too beautiful that I totally forgot how excited I was on seeing and taking shots of the U.S. Capitol.  The fine-looking building I am talking about is the Thomas Jefferson Building formerly known as the Library of Congress Building.

Accepting visitors too for this building was about cease for the day but I opted to enter thinking that I’d rather spend my afternoon’s remaining time inside this less-known building instead of my much preferred U.S. Capitol.  

  The stupidity in me was so high that afternoon that I was actually clueless and was not expecting anything to marvel about inside this building.  But upon entry my jaw simply dropped!  I never imagined that this building’s interior would elaborately be so decorated.  I was astonished to see each of the sections of the building which of course exhibits the richness of the American history and culture.

I thought that the highlight of all highlights was the splendor, opulence and grandness of the main hall.  But when my curiosity attacked, I led myself to a small stairs which looks like it accommodates long queues of people on ordinary days because of the signs posted (but none that afternoon was around since the building was already closing). I discovered an even grander magnificence of this extra-ordinarily beautiful building.  The unimposing stairs led me to the Main Reading Room of the building! And if dropped jaws can further plunge, I guess that was what pretty happened to me during that time!

And when I was done doing the tour of the building, I felt “pahiya” (guilty and embarrassed) because I underestimated the beauty and grandness of the Thomas Jefferson Building which I later found out to be one of the most beautiful buildings in the United States. 

I was at a wow stated when I left Thomas Jefferson Building.  It then dawned in me that my Washington D.C. adventure would be something colorful and spectacular!

clueless

Wow! Hindi ko akalain, gradioso pala sa loob!

Surprised by the Museum of Natural History in Manila

Lowering expectation is one simple secret to achieving amazement and happiness.  Setting high expectations tends to result to frustration especially when measuring reality against imagined reality.  High expectations often wrings the joy out of experiencing something for what it is.

This were my exact thoughts when I and a bunch of colleagues decided to have a detour and headed to the Museum of Natural History in Manila before driving back to our office after some brief business meeting in Intramuros.  Knowing Manila being a run down, sullied, traffic-infested and over-populated city, finding something amazing seem next to impossible. 

this hall houses some of the most important artifacts

world-class!

my county’s “under the sea” features is one of the best

biggest croc on record is in the philippines it’s name is “lolong”

But our visit to the Museum of Natural History in Manila was indeed a big surprise!  It is one destination on the City of Manila that definitely deserves a visit! 

What I love most about this museum is that all exhibits – flora, fauna, earth formations, etc. – were of Filipino representations.  Also, segmentations of exhibits were really well thought of.  It’s like being so at home yet you would discover new and amazing natural wonders of the country. 

some fauna with two lucky folks

open up! admission is free!

the old-fashioned “botica”

i love this!

hall full of rocks!

Me and my colleagues were a bunch of pre-millennial species that is why we could really relay and seem so familiar with some of the indigenous exhibits.  Some of us could actually recall childhood encounters with some of the now rare flora and fauna displayed in the museum – dragonflies, beetles, birds, fruit crops, seashells, clams, freshwater crabs, etc.  Too bad, these floras and faunas we played with during childhood has started to become so rare it can now only be found in a museum.

I also like the fact that some of the exhibits are interactive.  I and my colleagues were so surprised, we could not keep ourselves from saying “Wow!” every time we enter a gallery full of amazing collections. Museum of Natural History in Manila was one surprising experience!  I have been to some of the top museums of the world and I can say that Manila’s National Museum of Natural History is world class.  .  It’s truly a fantastic feast for the senses! 

museum of natural history, manila, philippines

…was so impressed!

The National Museum of Natural History in Manila is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Entrance is free.

Ang ganda. Inferness!

Shimmering Soumaya Museum

Modern and present earthlings’ visit and holiday to Mexico City would now no longer be complete without visiting the Soumaya Museum.  Hailed as a new landmark, this weird looking building in the city is a private museum owned by the richest living earthling Carlos Slim. 

Named after the wife of the owner who passed away in 1999, Soumaya Museum building is one of the weirdest-looking modern architecture that I have ever seen!  It is so weird that I could not actually ascertain its geometrical shape.  Add to its weirdness is its being windowless and that the whole building glimmers and sparkles when hit by the rays of the sunshine!

And since the owner is filthy rich, admission inside the museum is free. Only the blind would miss the bronze cast of Rodin’s The Thinker upon entering the open airy lobby.  There’s also a colorful mural (considered to be one of the last works) done by Diego Rivera pointing toward the restrooms.

the lobby!

 

la puerta del infierno (the gates of hell) Ang taray ng title!

look at how tiny the people are at the bottom of this photo

Art collections found inside Soumaya Museum are all so grand and ostentatious.  It is dominated by the great works European artists, including El Greco, Van Gogh, Degas, Matisse and Picasso.  There are also a spectacular section of religious art which includes the Mexican portrait of the Virgin of Guadalupe, the Spanish painting of the Virgin of Toledo and surprisingly intricate ivory sculptures of Jesus hanged on the Cross done by Filipino artisans.

And like in any other museum, it has been my tradition of choosing a collection that I am most impressed with.  Soumaya Museum had three amazing collections that enticed, engrossed and charmed my wits.

El Pansador (The Thinker by Auguste Rodin). I need to have a photo with this masterpiece

Joven de Bou-saada (Young Girl of Bou-saada). It looks so real, it scares me!

If art feeds the soul, Soumaya Museum would definitely have you so full! This was indeed a very enriching adventure! 

Hugis ano?

Castillo De Chapultepec

A castle is the last thing I am expecting to find when I decided to tour and visit Mexico City.  But expect the unexpected because I found Chapultepec Castle or Castillo De Chapultepec which is also unexpectedly located in the middle of a very huge park, the Chapultepec Park.  This park is so big, it is even bigger than the famous Central Park of New York City.    

The funny thing is, while roaming around the castle area, I am reminded by a number of things and I am telling myself that I have seen such place in the past.  And then I realized that this was the place where some scenes were shot in the 1996 movie Romeo & Juliet starring Leonardo Di Caprio and Clare Danes.  It was the set of the Capulet Mansion in that movie! 

The castle has been home for different purposes throughout its long history.  It has been a military academy, a presidential home, of course the royal residence, as well as an observatory.  Now it houses Mexico’s National Museum of History.      

It is the only castle in North America ever actually used as a royal home.  It was the residence of Emperor Maximilian I and his wife Empress Carlota.  And during such time, it was still considered to be in the outskirts of Mexico City.  This emperor then wanted to connect his castle to the main city.  He then ordered the construction of a road so as to link it to the energetic city.  That road now is known as the bustling and affluent Paseo Dela Reforma. 

paseo dela reforma

 The construction of the castle started in 1775 and in 1806 it was purchased by Mexico City’s municipal government.  It was mostly abandoned during the Mexican War of Independence.  But it rose to prominence again with the story that is probably the most famous event that has taken place in that castle, the Niños Heroes (or Hero Children). 

Niños Heroes are six Mexican boys who defended the castle against the U.S. soldiers invasion of the castles in September 13, 1847 during the bloody Mexican-American War.  These boys are now permanently honored throughout the grounds of the castle through massive sculptures, artifact exhibits and a commemorative mural painting.  

Besides the beauty of the castle itself, there are lovely gardens and grounds.  You also got fantastic view of the city and the park’s surroundings.  And since it is now the National Museum of History, there are also historical artifacts, exhibits and furnishings that I really enjoyed seeing.

Chapultepec Castle caught me in such a big surprise, that it is one site that I would recommend seeing when in Mexico City.  It was one lovely and surprisingly enriching visit.

Mapapa-biba Meksiko ka sa ganda!