by (contributed news)

TWO PAINTINGS by the late Iligan artist and former MSU-IIT employee Denis Francis Reyes Orellana were turned over by their previous owner to the Iligan City Ethnic Center & Museum in Buhanginan Hills on September 4, 2019.

Director and Curator Dr. Christian TN Aguado received the paintings for the museum.

The subjects of the oil portraits are the Higaunon couple Datu Mansumayan and his wife Humot, personalities who were brought to public awareness by Prof. Ricardo Jorge S. Caluen with his “A Preliminary Ethnographic study on the Higaunon, Rogongon, Iligan City” published in the MSU-IIT journal The Technician.  

The turnover of the paintings was initiated by former faculty of the MSU-IIT Political Science Department Caluen who owned the works, and who was Orellana’s classmate at La Salle Academy in Iligan City.

Orellana promoted ethnic art, particularly Maranao art motifs like the okir and niaga, an influence from his late father Dionisio Orellana, a graduate of the University of the Philippines’ College of Fine Arts. The elder Orellana was considered the expert on Maranao art. One of Dionisio’s early paintings about the Maria Cristina Falls done in 1956 is displayed in the National Museum in Manila. 

Denis worked as artist-illustrator in MSU-IIT’s Center for Research and Development, today known as the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research & Extension. 

He likewise worked as artist-illustrator of the IPAG, illustrated its official logo and was resident set designer for many years. He put up an art shop Ethnikology with wife Felisa “Fely” Sanchez-Orellana of MSU-IIT’s Human Resource Management Division. 

Denis was one of the pillars of Sidlak, an Iligan based Artists Group. He died on June 1, 1996 at age 40. He is survived by his wife Fely, three children, two grandchildren, and three siblings.

Among those who came to the simple turnover ceremony at the Iligan City Ethnic Center & Museum were friends and former high school classmates among them Eric Mendoza Obach, Franklin Quijano, Rod San Luis, Jose Buenaventura, Christine Godinez Ortega, and Steve Fernandez. (Christine Godinez Ortega)