Flying through Davao airport, you’ve no doubt encountered the so-called durian sculpture – an unmissable, 7.5m concrete version of the spiky fruit. Entitled Giant Durian Genesis Lore, it depicts three pairs of human figures symbolizing the people of Davao: the indigenous Lumad, the Moros and the Christian settlers. The sculpture is an unmistakable call for unity in Mindanao. And just 10km away, in the village of Ma-a, the region’s best-known artist is still devoted to this message.
Surrounded by stacks of wood, steel and found objects, Ray Mudjahid Ponce Millan – more popularly known as Kublai – is adding the finishing touches on what he considers one of his most important projects so far. To be installed at the newly opened Maguindanao Capitol, it is made up of 15m sculptures of three traditional weapons used by the Moros: the barong (a leaf-shaped sword), kampilan (a single-edged long sword, considered the national weapon of the Moros) and kris (a sword with a wavy blade). Kublai hopes to show how putting down weapons is an important step in working for genuine and sustainable peace.