According to the artist, “All these pictures are
recollections from his past misadventures with faith
healers, shamans, quacks, herbalists, and spiritists.”
This work, a sketch of a totemic bamboo altar, is best
appreciated within the context of the other works
that Santiago Boses from 1989 to the mid-1990s.
Bose had done numerous installations and shamanistic
performances in different venues local and foreign. In
the installation Pasyon at Rebolusyon (1989) with its altar made of bamboo structures and woven tapestries in a forest, folk religion with its songs , particularly the Pasyon, a folk narrative based on the
passion and death of Christ, and other traditions, anticolonial at the core, is radicalized in a totemic perspective. A restless experimenter in media,
Bose was among the first artists to make full use of indigenous materials. Inspired by the nativist cults of Mt. Banahaw, Bose did this installation
using indigenous and organic materials. A mystic altar stands upon a background of dried tree branches massed together to form an improvised
chapel, as in the forested slopes of the holy mountain.
Back then, Bose’s fascination with folk religion was further pursued in such other works as “Confession of a Talisman” (1995) in which the
expansive figure of a deity and its matric incarnations are delineated by means of lines burned with a magnifying glass under the sun, while red
acrylic paint tracing letters and leaving pools of color lends it a strange and sonorous quality. Yet, it is notable that what we may consider as Bose’s
nativism is not exempt from ironies and reservations. Another artwork from the same period, “Lies, Magicians and Blind Faith” (1993-1995),
an artwork in book form, comprises twenty-five compositions with text, collages, solar burnings, and ink on handmade paper.