Monday, August 13, 2012

PORTRAIT OF DIVINE INSPIRATION: FR. ARMAND TANGI


PORTRAIT OF THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS
NATIONAL SHRINE OF THE SACRED HEART
RENDITION OF FR. ARMAND TANGI, SSP.


The National Shrine of the Sacred Heart truly has a national treasure in its midst. Gracing the front of the Altar is an artistic lifelike painting of a 10-feet massive portrait of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ.

This special portrait of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is unique in that it cannot be found anywhere else in the world except only at the Philippine National Shrine of the Sacred Heart.

This warm portrait of a friendly and smiling Jesus joyfully handing out His Sacred Heart to mankind is a masterpiece impression by world class Filipino painter Father Armand Tangi, SSP. He lovingly refers to this portraiture as the Smiling Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Father Armand A. Tangi is an extremely gifted and talented Filipino artist-painter and an active priest from the religious group of Society of St. Paul. Always busy in his San Antonio Makati office, he is in charge of mini-media, responsible for dissemination of God's Word in non-traditional forms of media.

Despite his natural artistic gift, Father Armand is quick to dismiss the praises and compliments that many of his religious masterpiece paintings command. He acknowledges his gratefulness to God for this special talent which he gladly uses without hesitation to glorify Him in any way he can.

He reveals the power of intimate prayer as his secret ingredient to a successful painting. Whenever he sets out to do any religious painting, he makes it a point to always pray and seek enlightenment so that he may be guided in what God wants to be done for the finished work.

As soon as he starts brush painting, he senses his hands move spontaneously as they work on the canvass as if the master strokes of Divine Inspiration flow from within. Uninterrupted and inspired, the final work becomes classic art pieces worthy of national treasure status coming from a humble painter yet unrecognized but worthy of national artist status. 


KNOWN BY HIS FRUITS 

If a tree is known by its fruits, then Fr. Armand can be intimately known by his past accomplishments. The most important artistic work he considers to have done so far are the interior artworks for the National Shrine of the Sacred Heart.

Though little is known by the parishioners that a Filipino painter priest who works within the San Antonio Village Community was the artist responsible for the Shrine's beautiful interiors, it is not by coincidence but by Divine Intervention that God had called him to do the difficult work of refining the interiors according to His Plan.

After celebrating the 7:00AM Mass at the Shrine, Bishop Crisostomo Yalung invited Fr. Armand to share breakfast with him. It was then that Bishop Yalung raised his greatest concern about the probable obstacle by which the renovation works of the Shrine may be delayed for some time beyond the expected date of completion.

Bishop Yalung lamented the fact that they had commissioned a Filipino-Spanish painter to do the mural of the Sacred Heart which was fronting the Altar. But since he had a busy and hectic schedule, the Spanish painter gave the minimum estimate of six months working time for all the interior artworks to be completed.

It was then that Bishop Yalung asked him if he could take on the job. Without any hesitation, Fr. Armand earnestly agreed by responding, "Yes Bishop I would do it for you and for the Sacred Heart because the Sacred Heart is my devotion."

As an ardent Sacred Heart devotee, Fr. Armand never lets a day pass without praying the Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. He testifies that the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Mother Mary has blessed him with so many answered prayers and that They have never failed him.

While in his tertiary year studying Fine Arts at the University of the Philippines, he acknowledges the guidance of the Blessed Virgin Mary in being instrumental in confirming his important decision to enter the seminary for priesthood. He also attributes the Blessed Mother Mary as the one responsible for bringing him closer to Her Son Jesus through this Devotion to the Sacred Heart.

Father Armand's deep love for the Two Hearts was so great that he was responsible for the artistic concept and final design of the Immaculate Hearts of Jesus and Mary that is now immortalized in blue and white ceramic tiles by Mariwasa initiated in celebration of the Year of the Immaculate Hearts of Jesus and Mary.

This is now a popular national tradition adopted among house builders in the Philippines to strategically place the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary commemorative tiles in the front door of the house or gates evidently greeting house visitors and to bring blessings to the house residents. 


WORKS OF DIVINE INSPIRATION 

When Father Armand agreed to take on the painting artworks of the Shrine's interiors, he was confident that by God's grace and with His guidance, he may be able to finish the work in a shorter period of time which was crucial to the anticipated date of formal blessing.

True enough, it is by God's Divine Intervention and one would find it hard to believe that all the excellent masterpiece paintings done inside the Shrine were finished by him after one month.

Father Armand was entrusted to do for the Shrine, a total of eight paintings. Aside from the 10 feet mural of the Smiling Sacred Heart, lifelike paintings of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, Vision of the Sacred Heart to St. Alacoque, and the four evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were completed by him within one month.

Father Armand would always stressed that while it was Divine Inspiration that was literally guiding his master strokes, he somehow manages to inject a little of his own impression of whatever he is painting on.

He explains in detail that art must reflect life and while so many impressions of Jesus' sufferings have already been portrayed in various artworks, it is but also fair that Jesus be portrayed in His moments of joy since life is a complete experience of both joy and suffering.

It is no wonder then, that his interpretation of a smiling Jesus holding out His Sacred Heart joyfully offering it to mankind is a magnificent masterpiece showcasing the humanity and divinity of Jesus as a happy and merciful Saviour. Truly, that unique human portrait of the Smiling Sacred Heart of Jesus is a Philippine national treasure that can't be found anywhere else in the world.

 
Father Armand can also be credited as the less known Filipino painter who popularized the unique portraits of The Laughing Christ and The Smiling Christ, which are collection favorites worldwide.


It surprises him to no end, that well meaning friends coming from trips abroad would come home and give him as a present this unique portrait of "The Laughing Jesus". Little do they know that it was he who first painted the original portrait which had eventually found its way overseas. Still, he would be that humble not to even admit to his friends of these portraits being his original work and idea.


To date he has completed an impressive collection of modern day poster interpretations of a "youthful Christ" to make Him more relevant and suitably appealing to a younger generation of audience.



 
1st Promise: I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life.


2nd Promise: I will give peace in their families.



3rd Promise: I will comfort them in all their afflictions.



4th Promise: I will be their security and refuge during life, and above all, in death.



The artistic work of Father Armand wasn't limited only to the Shrine's interior paintings. The intricate colorful glass etchings of the 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart that adorned the top most portion of the ceiling walls close to the roofing were also his artistic interpretation of each of the 12 Promises in collaborative effort with an expert color glass manufacturer.



 

5th Promise: I will bestow abundant blessings upon all their undertakings.



6th Promise: Sinners will find in My Heart the Source and Infinite Ocean of Mercy.



7th Promise: Lukewarm souls shall become fervent.



8th Promise: Fervent souls shall quickly mount to higher perfection.



  
9th Promise: I will bless every place in which an Image of My Heart is exposed and honored.



10th Promise: I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts.


 

11th Promise: Those who shall promote this devotion shall have their names written in my Heart.
 


12th Promise: I promise you in excessive Mercy of My Heart that My all powerful Love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on the First Fridays of nine consecutive months, the grace of final perseverance; they shall not die in My disgrace, nor without receiving their Sacraments. My Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.




ADORATION CHAPEL OF THE SACRED HEART 

Another classic masterpiece of the Vision of the Sacred Heart is immortalized in the colorful glass mosaic sculpture hanging suspended in the center of Adoration Chapel of the National Shrine. As explained by Father Armand, "A closer look at it, reveals the many intricate and beautiful colors of the joys of life which emanate from loving the Sacred Heart of Jesus; the center of which also houses the Sacred Host of the Blessed Sacrament."

For all of the Shrine's elaborate interior artworks, Father Armand didn't charge professional labor fees and was only reimbursed for the appropriate material costs. He considers it a work of love to glorify God and is more than grateful to have been given the privilege to do the work which was more than enough for him; since he is a devotee of the Sacred Heart. Likewise, I reassured him that it was not by coincidence but by the Divine Plan of God that clearly he was the destined one appointed to do the work instead of the Spanish painter.

From the Shrine's classic immortal paintings to the intricate colorful art glass design, Father Armand is truly an instrument for the Divine Interpretation of how Jesus wanted his Shrine to reflect the magnanimity of His Sacred Heart.

Adorned with such a magnificent collection of masterpiece artworks by a Filipino artist priest worthy of national acclamation, the National Shrine of the Sacred Heart should be included in the itinerary of anyone embarking on a meaningful pilgrimage tour. 

For a virtual tour of the National Shrine of the Sacred Heart, visit this link. 


EDWIN L. YAP
Makati City, Philippines