In sculpture, there are certain themes which demand certain materials. Each material has its own specific quality. Wood, for instance, is hard but it has a tender quality. Napoleon Abueva is no stranger to the challenge of creating from wood.
Describing sculpture as primarily manual work, he stresses that the sculptor must also be a carpenter, mason, welder, electrician and even a weightlifter. His work is characterized by a strong sense of form and material, by flexibility and invention, and by a fertile imagination, by turns whimsical, literary, and fantastic. With wood, his ridges are as significant as the furrows, and the pronounced chisel marks are very much a part of the resulting visual experience.
“I find excitement in the beauty and grace of living creatures, and I have grown to respect and love them. Sometimes, I don’t know which is of greater importance, the sculpture or the subject. The ends and means are one and the same.”