Tribute to Alice Guerrero Guillermo

By Jose Maria Sison, Chairperson
International League of Peoples´ Struggle
July 29, 2018

Julie and I express our most heartfelt condolences to Gelas, children Bomen and Sofie and grand children. In one sense we are sad that Alice has left us and in another sense we are glad that she will continue to be with us and further generations because of her brilliant and undying legacy, especially in the field of culture and the arts.

Long before Alice became accomplished and outstanding as a scholar, a professor, a theorist and critic in the arts and literature, Julie and I separately and jointly became friends with her on the Diliman campus of the University of the Philippines. Alice and Julie were roommates at the UP South Dormitory in the summer of 1957.

The three of us came to know each other even better when Alice joined the UP Student Cultural Association (SCAUP) in 1959. We became close friends and then comrades in the struggle for national democracy and in upholding the leadership of the working class in the continuation of the Philippine revolution in the era of modern imperialism and proletarian revolution.

In the SCAUP, aside from studying the new democratic revolution and the socialist future and acting on campus, national and international issues, we had plenty of time to converse about our personal circumstances. I had a special sense of kinship with Alice because the Sisons of my hometown were closely related to the Guerreros, the family of Alice.

Julie and I had a happy reunion with Alice when upon my invitation as convenor of the International Seminar on Mao Zedong Thought she came to Germany in 1993 to deliver a paper on Mao Zedong´s Revolutionary Aesthetics and Its Influence on the Philippine struggle, She reaffirmed that we were all nourished by Mao´s Talks at the Yenan Forum on Literature and Art and all his other major works.

At that time, she was the head of the Department of Art Studies of the U.P. College of Arts and Letters. And long before that, she had gotten her doctoral degree in Philippine Studies and was already renowned as the leading Filipino authority in the Marxist theory of arts and literature. She had written extensively on art, culture and politics and and had read scholarly papers in Philippine and International conferences.

As early as 1976, she had won the Art Criticism Award of the Art Association of the Philippines, And she became the Centennial Honoree of the Arts (for Art Criticism) of the Cultural Center of Philippines in 1999. She had studied the entirety of Filipino artists and scrutinized the works of s wide range of Filipino artists, including Francisco Coching, E. Aguilar Cruz, Santiago Bose, Agnes Arellano, Alfredo Carmelo, Galo B. Ocampo and Julie Lluch,

She paid the closest attention and appreciated most the artists and creative writers that may be considered as the artists of the people, especially the adherents of social realism who exposed the dire conditions and needs of the oppressed and exploited toiling masses of workers and peasants and expressed their immediate demands for national and social liberation and their vision of a brighter and better future in socialism.

The most comprehensive, profound and definitive works of Prof. Alice Guerrero Guillermo are Covert Presence, Social Realism in the Philippines, Image to Meaning: Essays on Philippine Art and Protest/Revolutionary Art in The Philippines. These are the most authoritative and most indispensable books on the subject and decades covered. They are the classic works that she bequeathes to all of us.

Alice Guerrero Guillermo will live forever in the memory of the Filipino nation as a teacher of revolutionary aesthetics and as an art critic in the service of the oppressed and exploited masses.
The great amount and high quality of her works in the field of culture and art are outstanding and make her a brilliant icon in the national pantheon of culture heroes.

She and her works will live on both as significant contributions to the cumulative revolutionary tradition of art and literature and as inspirational guide to the revolutionary artists and creative writers of this and further generations.

Long live the memory of Alice Guerrero Guillermo!
Long live the revolutionary ideas and values in her works!
Long live Philippine culture and art in the service of the people!
Long live the Filipino people and the Philippine revolution!

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