This Is What The “UPLift” Sculpture Really Means According To The Artist

The “Oblation” is one of the most famous works of art in the University of The Philippines. With its name literally meaning “to sacrifice oneself,” it has become one of the symbols of the nation’s premiere university.

Now, a new sculpture displayed in the university has been making noise both in social media and in the art world.

And no, it’s not the “female oblation.” The artist states that it isn’t supposed to be called like that because it isn’t the female oblation. It is called “UPLift.”

uplift 4Photo from Ferdinand Cacnio

Ferdinand Cacnio, creator of the now famous female sculpture situated in front of the University Theater, shares what UPLift truly means and how it even came to be.

In a nutshell, the sculpture is about “enlightenment and uplifting oneself” and about “aspiring for honor and excellence.”

Its meaning or concept on my point of view is a woman arising with open arms to welcome the knowledge and values of UP as an institution.

These concepts pretty much explain the levitating and open-armed characteristics of UPLift.

Mr. Cacnio shares that the theme of levitation was first presented to him in 2007. In 2010, a study of the UPLift sculpture was presented at the UP Homecoming party where he and his batchmates were able to sell fifty pieces to cover the production costs.

It was just last year when they were finally able to raise the funds needed to produce the sculpture. And now, seven years later, the actual sculpture has been installed in the university.

uplift 3Photo from Ferdinand Cacnio

The artist shares that the challenge of the sculpture was to make it look like it was levitating–especially when he was doing nude sculptures at the time. This led him to hide the stand in the sculpture’s hair. The artist, having a background in Civil Engineering, was able to make it very successful.

When asked about his decision of creating a female sculpture that’s about female empowerment, Mr. Cacnio replied, “I’m married to one.”

uplift 2Photo by Ferdinand Cacnio

The face of UPLift is based on Ms. Dot Gancayco who was chosen by the artist because of her exemplification of honor and excellence. She is described by Mr. Cacnio as a very talented and accomplished woman.

As for the people’s reception of his work, the artist says that he was surprised by the mixed response. He even admits to being insulted by the accusations of copying another artists’ work, saying “We value honor and excellence. It’s so easy to judge without knowing the facts.”

The artist and his family have made their statements on these accusations, reiterating that UPLift is an original work by Ferdinand Cacnio.

upliftPhoto from Ferdinand Cacnio

Still, Mr. Cacnio sees the positive effect of all the noise that the UPLift sculpture has caused–that more people are being exposed and showing more interest in the world of art.

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Indeed, the UPLift sculpture has led to some very interesting discussions on art, and it’s such a huge deal that these discussions have been spreading around social media.

While not everything may be the best things to read online, it’s always great to have different perspectives on something to understand it even more. Pretty much like the sculpture itself–opening its arms to new knowledge and ideas.

What do you think of this new sculpture in UP? Share it with us!






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