An English painter in Davao, 1934

Nonfiction by | September 14, 2008

Head of a Philippine Child (Davou)
Head of a Philippine Child (Davou)

When Ian Fairweather stepped ashore at Santa Ana Wharf at Davao in August 1934 he was a 43-year-old Englishman at the beginning of his career as an artist. He had been a prisoner of war during World War 1, an art student at London’s Slade School of Art, travelled across China, spent nine months painting in Bali, visited Australia and had come to Davao on the proceeds of a painting that was sold to the Tate Gallery in London.

On the afternoon of his arrival he walked south along the coast to Piapi where he found a house and that evening he wrote, “It stands on stilts amongst the coconut trees on the edge of the beach, it looks something like a bird cage – on the ground beneath it – chickens and pigs – babies and land crabs and boats – it’s the sort of place I’ve dreamed of.”

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