We have had our share of meeting (or rubbing elbows with) well known artists. Some of them are friends or acquaintances. But perhaps the most frequent that we saw was a National Artist who recently passed away. Napoleon Abueva is a National Artist for Sculpture. He is famous for many of his creations that include the Himlayang Pilipino's iconic statue and the crucifix atop the UP Chapel's main altar. He also has versions of the UP's oblation as well as many other works spread around the campus.
We remember him though as a fellow parishioner at the church where we hear Mass on Sundays. Abueva, I believe and observed, was humble, low key, and not the rock star type of artist. He was practically inconspicuous during the 9:00 am Masses that he attended at the Parish of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Antipolo. Perhaps people did not recognize him or unaware of this accomplished person among us? Perhaps he preferred this, too.
We often sat near (at times shared the same bench) him, his wife and their two assistants. The latter always greeted us and were sweet with our daughter who liked singing during Mass. He often just sat through the Mass and probably said his prayers or meditated in silence. When it was time to greet each other peace, he would often gesture to those around them with a nod while also acknowledging those who greeted him.
We knew he was already weak though he could still walk with assistance and didn't need a wheelchair for those times we saw him in church. Recently, we have been attending Mass at the chapel near my in-laws' home in Novaliches and so was not aware of his condition until the news came out about his passing.
Paalam po at nawa'y makapagpahinga kayo sa kanlungan ng Panginoon. May your works continue to inspire people.-