Abdulmari Asia Imao

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Abdulmari Asia Imao, a native of Sulu, is a Philippine sculptor and painter whose works reflect the Muslim culture. A Tausug, he is the first Moro national artist from Marawi City.In 2006 he was named as one of the National Artists of the Philippines for sculpture. His works have popularized indigenous Philippine motifs like the sarimanok, ukkil and naga. He has also created sculptures and monuments of Muslim and regional heroes and leaders.

Imao is also known as a painter, photographer, ceramist, documentary film maker, cultural researcher, and writer.



He obtained his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Sculpture from the University of the Philippines, Diliman. It was in UP where he was inspired by his mentors, fellow National Artists Guillermo E. Tolentino and Napoleon Abueva.

As a Smith Mundt and Fulbright Scholar, he earned his Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture from the University of Kansas, USA in 1962. He also took advanced studies in sculpture and ceramics as Fellow at the Rhode Island School of Design and in brass-casting and photography as a Faculty Scholar at the Columbia University in New York.


To help develop their art, Imao introduced to the Philippine indigenous peoples techniques, especially the use of indigenous materials, in brass-making. He also assisted them in making inexpensive foundry systems to be a livelihood activity as well as to promote cultural and artistic heritage.

He has also been recognized internationally as a brass- casting consultant of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and International Labour Organization (ILO). He also helped develop brass-casting technologies in Sri Lanka, Thailand and Indonesia.

Selected works

  • Industry Brass Mural, Philippine National Bank, San Fernando, La Union
  • Mural Relief on Filmmaking, Manila City Hall
  • Industrial Mural, Central Bank of the Philippines, San Fernando, La Union
  • Sulu Warriors (statues of Panglima Unaid and Captain Abdurahim Imao), 6 ft., Sulu Provincial Capitol
  • Calligraphic Brass Sculptures and Paintings, Philippine Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia


External links



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