By PATRICIA O. AFABLE
Keeping Count, Homing in: Baguio Boy Einosuke Rudy Furuya’s photographs celebrating the Baguio centennial opens on Saturday, April 4, 2009, 4:30 p.m. at The Gallery, SM City Baguio. Exhibit duration is from April 4 to June 8, 2009.
In this offering to his hometown’s centennial celebrations, Einosuke Rudy Furuya brings us the fruits of three years of perambulations through Baguio, past familiar gateways, hidden portals, and discreetly-announced welcomes.
Furuya’s work takes the pleasures and accomplishment you get from counting and amplifies them. While historians think “chronology” and demagogues point to “progress,” he playfully shrinks Baguio’s past one hundred years into images of numerals.
In each house number, stamped label, or hand-lettered mark, Furuya collapses time and place. Then he captures for us, in the sign maker’s momentous claim to identity, our daily striving for privacy, for belonging, and for personal art.
Rudy Furuya was born in Baguio’s Notre Dame Hospital in November 1933 and was a Baguio Japanese School student at the end of World War II. His father, Shonosuke Furuya, arrived in Manila in the 1910s and attended the U.P. School of Fine Arts. In the 1920s, the Furuya family lived along Session Road, where Shonosuke managed the Pine Studio. In the 1930s, they were in the Balatoc Mines, where he founded the Golden Light Studio.
When the Allied bombing of Baguio began in early 1945, the Furuyas joined the northward retreat from the city. Most of the Baguio Japanese died of illness and starvation in the Benguet and Ifugao mountains. Survivors, including the Furuyas, surrendered to U.S. military forces and became Prisoners of War. They were repatriated to Japan in late 1945.
Rudy followed his father’s example, and became an artist and photographer. He specialized in commercial photography in Tokyo and Yokohama. In the 1990s, he began making trips to his “hometown,” Baguio, to meet old schoolmates, revisit the places of his childhood, and find new directions for his art.
In 2002, Furuya began photographic explorations with Ompong Tan and Tommy Hafalla in Baguio. These resulted in his first solo show, “A Sense of Baguio: Through Einosuke Furuya’s Eyes,” held at the U.P. Baguio’s Galerya Kordilyera in 2005, their trio show at a café-gallery in 2005, and in their panoramic photographs that were part of the exhibition “Hapones: Early 20th Century Japanese Community in Baguio” at the U.P. Vargas Museum, Quezon City in 2007.
“Keeping Count…Homing In…” is Rudy Furuya’s second one-man show in Baguio, a part of his “A Sense of Baguio” series. # www.nordis.net