Under the Mango Tree is a Pop Art, oil and acrylic on canvas painting by Filipino-American artist, Jeanne Jalandoni.
Jalandoni paints realistic mangoes hanging from their tree against a dark and wearisome sky. Her eager hands are defined by an outlining of black, contrasted by groves of blue, red and pink Pop Art mysticism.
Mangoes within arm’s reach celebrate ease of opportunity. To this point, she makes a comparison between herself and the opportunistic approach of the Filipino folklore figure, Juan Tamad.
Under the Mango Tree is loosely based off of a popular story of Filipino folklore figure, Juan Tamad. Tamad, Tagalog (Filipino) for lazy, is revealed in situations by which he is considered lazy. In his most well-known story, rather than climbing a mango tree for its fruit, he sits under the tree awaiting the fruit to fall into his mouth.
The artist compared her once experienced lack of initiative to Juan’s complacency– rather than seeking out opportunities for herself, she waited for luck to fall into her hands.
Historically, much of the work in Southeast Asia is based off of agriculture and today, traditional methods of farming are still done by hand with little modern machinery. Because much of the culture expects its people to perform laborious, back-breaking work, much more than a lax attitude is expected from Juan Tamad.
Despite Southeast Asia’s use of traditional farming initiatives, its overall economy continues to develop. As more money circulates within the region, the middle-class continues to grow as well as the population of its educated. Popular ideas and philosophies have far evolved and more of its people are adopting more complex ideas. With this, I see a different interpretation of the story of Juan Tamad.
Maybe Tamad is not lazy at all. He sounds rather pragmatic. Isn’t it sensible to sit under a tree, waiting for its mangoes to fall in your mouth if they are just going to fall anyway? Also, having some rest and relaxation shouldn’t be so taboo.
Original and prints available on Saatchiart starting from $50: Under the Mango Tree by Jeanne Jalandoni.