Self-Taught Masters Francisco “Paco” Gorospe Sy –
The Picasso of the Philippines (July 10th, 1939 – September, 22nd, 2002)
In 1990, Paco was commissioned by Philippine Airlines, Inc. (PAL), the first and oldest commercial airline in Asia founded in 1941 and the flag carrier of the Philippines, to paint the cover for the playing cards set they gave to PAL passengers as a way to promote Philippine arts & culture. Sabungeros was his take on cockfighting, a local pastime in the Philippines.
From the decription distributed with the sets of playing cards: “Sabungeros by Paco Gorospe: ´Sabung´ of cockfighting is regarded as the Filipino´s own sport of kings. The sight of men with roosters cradled in their arms is like a male version of that other popular Philippine subject, the ‘Mother and Child`.”
“Paco Gorospe, a Filipino artist consistently loyal to a native iconography, pays homage to the Sabungeros (Cockfighters). His painting depicts a tableau of brown-skinned men, with their wide-brimmed sombreros, stroking their roosters. A strong masculine presence pervades the scene. Aggressive strokes of black delineate the figures in semi-darkness. The cockpit becomes an arena of the Filipino spirit – lively and ever filled with excitement – but presented as in a still life.”
(Quote of the text from the Book Revisiting ‘Mabini Art’, published in 2013, Germany, Publisher´s - Klaus W. Hartung Consulting)