“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life,” says the famous painter Pablo Picasso.
Indeed, the works of Eman Mediana Santos truly wash away that dust to one’s soul for they convey positive messages and profound wishes for his audience. Though not that apparent, those beautiful wishes of blessings, those prayers for good health, protection, fertility, and abundance, were embedded in each image, in each symbol that he incorporated in his works.
Truly, when this writer has entered the halls of the art hub known as The Artologist in San Juan City, he truly felt that good vibe. It was July 8, 6:00 P.M., and the show was entitled “Circulate.”
The happiness of the people inside the gallery is overflowing, and the vibration is simply amazing—it’s positively positive, and it is contagious that your heart and soul will again regain their strength, as they keep trying to survive, amid the chaos of the fast-paced city life and the stress of keeping oneself alive and moving and happy and content.
Trees and Mountains of Enormous Blessings
The first time that this writer has written about Santos, the first impression that lasted in him was his series of money trees. Yes, those colorful trees whose leaves resemble coins and paper money.
For thousands of years, trees have been considered as sacred and magical in so many different cultures.
Cherry trees were recognized as symbol of happiness in the near future and of course, abundance. And so are apple trees, silver birch, and arbutus.
Oaks, among the Celts, were considered as a sacred tree, which signifies wisdom, truth, and courage.
Elder trees, which are native in England, on the other hand, were said to be harbingers of good fortune and perfect health.
In the Philippines, the balete tree is considered as a tree of spirit a. It is where different mystical—good or malevolent—creatures dwell. On the other hand, banyan trees are considered sacred by the adherents of the Theravada Buddhism.
Of course, they were “pagan” interpretation of the symbolism of that creation of Mother Nature who has leaves, branches, hard trunk, and roots that are deeply buried in the earth.
In the Scriptures, it has been said that there are some 56 verses that mention the word “tree.” Either the verse is referring to a physical or a real tree, or a symbol for spiritual growth and maturity.
In Psalms 1: 3, the righteous man is considered as a tree that was planted by the river, which bears fruit in seasons.
Jesus Christ himself has used in one of his parable the fig tree as a symbol of the coming of the Kingdom of God:
“He told them a parable.”See the fig tree, and all the trees. When they are already budding, you see it and know by your own selves that the summer is already near. Even so you also, when you see these things happening, know that the Kingdom of God is near. Most certainly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things are accomplished. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will by no means pass away.” — Luke 21:29-33, World English Bible
He even used the parable of the mustard tree (Brassica nigra) which is a type of mustard that grows up to nine (9) feet in height:
He said, “How will we liken the Kingdom of God? Or with what parable will we illustrate it? It’s like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, though it is less than all the seeds that are on the earth, yet when it is sown, grows up, and becomes greater than all the herbs, and puts out great branches, so that the birds of the sky can lodge under its shadow.” — Mark 4:30–32, World English Bible
In the heavens, where the Mighty One dwells, there is a tree whose leaves can cure the sickness of all nations:
“Then the angel showed me a river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb, down the middle of the main street of the city. On either side of the river stood a tree of life, producing twelve kinds of fruit and yielding a fresh crop for each month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.” Revelations 22: 1 – 2, the Berean Study Bible
In fact, in the deeper sense, that Tree of Life indeed is the map and the ladder of the spiritual development and expansion of the Higher Consciousness among human beings.
But in his show there were new “attractions” and they were his mountains, which are being illuminated by either the silver or the golden moon.
Aside for its beauty, mountains play a very important role in world’s ecological balance.
“Mountains have an extremely important role in influencing global and regional climates and weather conditions. They cover around one-quarter of the earth’s land surface and are home to 720 million people around the world. Indirectly, billions more living downstream also benefit from mountains. Mountains provide us with freshwater, energy, food, biodiversity, and medicinal products – resources that may become very rare in the coming decades,” says an essay published by the United Nations Development Project, as part of the celebration of “International Mountain Day” which is celebrated every 11th of December, each year.
These majestic land formations also signify spiritual development and renewal.
“Mountains signify celestial things (which also were called the highest), consequently love and charity, and thereby the goods of love and charity, which are celestial. And in the opposite sense those also are called mountains that are vain glorious; and therefore a mountain stands for the very love of self. The Most Ancient Church is also signified in the Word by mountains, from these being elevated above the earth and nearer as it were to heaven, to the beginnings of things,” says a website dedicated to giving meaning to some things in the Bible, mostly from Emanuel Swedenborg.
In fact, there were mountains allover the world which are considered sacred—Mount Sinai in Egypt; the Himalayas in Asia; the Andes of Peru; and here in the Philippines, the Banahaw in Quezon and Laguna provinces, just to name a few.
And even though the mountains of Santos aren’t real (but artists do have their own concept of reality, don’t they?), they bring certain degree of comfort and they are giving you a reassurance that despite the fact that life is indeed hard and difficult, one will always find solace and comfort, like in the bosom of the mountain or in the mountaintop. Just like what one Bible verse said,
“The Mountains shall bring peace, and the hills, in righteousness” (Ps. 72:3).
Golden Pullets, Galloping Horses, and the Images of Golden Love
Besides his glorious mountains illuminated by silver moons and money-bearing trees, Santos also have these wonderful images of pullets and horses and women, whose hearts were either golden or red.
Pullets, in semiotics, signify the power of the mother’s love. Hens are very protective in their young, so as the human mother.
“The hen, as noted, has long been viewed as a paragon of motherhood,” wrote Karen Davis, Ph.D., in an essay published online in 2002.
Furthermore, they also symbolize fertility, sexuality, happiness, and blessings.
On the other hand, the horse painting of Santos indicates mobility, freedom, and power.
Indeed, Santos’ Circulate show is not only a showcase of pure talent. It is also an event, as this author has already said, of pure positive energy and bliss, for his creations is not only beautiful but meaningful, which truly adhere to the Transcendentals of Plato—the True, the Good, and the Beautiful.