J.J. Early Years

J.J. Education

J.J. Achievements

J.J. Masterpiece

J.J. Children

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His Achievements

Jumalon, the artist, does not live in a hermetically sealed ivory tower. His more that fifty years of persistent active campaign for the restoration and preservation of Cebu's historical landmarks, the conservation and development of native culture and arts through free art lectures/classes, organizational representations and numerous articles in local papers have endeared him to the Cebuanos to the point where he was now almost, if not already, an institution in Cebu. These are evident in the growing number of plaques of appreciation, citations, honors, and awards, including the Perlas Award for Valuable Filipino (Philippines Foundation Inc.), Lifetime Achievement Award (City Government), the "Baul" Award for Model Filipino (Filipino Institute for the Promotion of Integrity and Nobility Foundation) and Outstanding UP Alumnus (Cebu Chapter), conferred twice. Outside of Cebu City, Jumalon was getting gradual recognition simply by word of mouth and snapshots taken by the thousands of local and foreign visitors themselves in the Jumalon Butterfly Sanctuary and Art Gallery, which has become part of the Visayas and Mindanao, and now, even Luzon (e.g. Southville International School, Ateneo de Manila).

Jumalon's paintings and mosaics engage the viewer's attention without need of the symbiotic collaboration of poets and writers to interpret let alone, in the words of Artist M. Grosser, attribute qualities the eyes may not find in the pictures. Without pretensions to social/political/aesthetic/what-not statements, his work simply reflect an eye for the grandeur of God's creation, usually with color schemes inspired by color harmonies found in natural objects. And always, Jumalon's compositions are a feast to the beholder's visual sensibilities no matter how common place his subjects are, be they a "tuko" (gecko), "agukoy" (fiddler crab), or mushroom. This was probably why collectors acquire his works more for their own pleasure, something the can live with day in and day out, than as a speculative hedge against inflation.

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Whereas according to Nobokov "Literature and butterflies are the two sweetest passions known to man," it may be said that painting and butterflies are Jumalon's two greatest passions. In fact some of the plants and animals that thrive in Jumalon's Butterfly Sanctuary are captured for posterity in his series of Visayan folklore and nature paintings, such as "Pobreng Alindahaw," Sitsiritsit, Alibangbang, Salaginto, Salagubang," "Kamunggay Nocturne," "Bagong," "Tuko,"etc. And of course he recycled discarded or damaged butterfly and moth wings, mostly supplied by fellow collectors abroad who are only too happy to exchange with perfect specimens from the Sanctuary. Julian N. Jumalon had lived up to the expectations of his UP Fine Arts Professors, particularly Professors Fernando Amorsolo and Guillermo Tolentino, when they voted for and awarded him First Prize for the coveted 1936 UP ANNUAL "Philippinensian" cover design, a treasured addition to three medals he had earned in the traditional yearly UP Student Art Exhibitions. Today Jumalon is an accomplished artist in his own right with his paintings and butterfly mosaics somehow making their way into the art collections in countries in four continents, such as Japan, Hongkong, Australia, U.S.A., Red China, Germany, Austria, England, and the Vatican in Italy. Jumalon had desisted from further participating in painting contests since 1954 when his entry, while duly acknowledged, had never been returned from Manila by the sponsoring movie company, it is reflective of his stature as an artist that even when he was still alive, already one of his vintage oil paintings, "Sibakong River," done in 1936 was forged and sold to acollector as an original Jumalon. Ironically, the forgery was the one printed in the prize-winning author and UP Art Professor Alice G. Guillermo's book, Cebu: A Heritage of Art (1991).

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He did more than 50 water color and lepido-mosaics in his lifetime, more than half of which are now distributed in all the continents of the world. The remaining paintings are now exhibited at the Art Gallery in the residence of the artist in Basak Pardo, located in the street named after Prof. Jumalon: the J.N. Jumalon St. , which was inaugurated last January 2012.

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The bust of Sen. Vicente Sotto Plaster of Paris, done in 1948 (lower-right)

Jumalon's works in the visual arts are not limited to oil, water color and lepido-mosaic. He had done as well several sculptors, including commissioned bust portraits of Don Guillermo Aboitiz (1935), Sen. Vicente Sotto (1936 and 1948), Tolaram (pre-war, Manila), all of which, except the 1948 Sotto, perished during the war.

Some of the Water Color Paintings of Jumalon

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When color photography and color printing were decades away, Jumalon pioneered in airbrush portraiture (1937 up) and serigraphy (1947 up), designing and printing souvenir programs, school annual covers, ribbons, posters, etc., which are now collector's items. His extant charcoal figure drawings during his last year in college at UP and pen and ink drawings are in storage or display at the Jumalon Art Gallery (open to the public).