Hanap ay Laya

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Hanap ay Laya (translation: Seeking Freedom) is a 1984 painting in oil on canvas by Edgar Fernandez.  It measures 182.88 x 243.84 cm. It is considered one of the most important paintings by Fernandez on the Madonna and child theme and is part of the Renato Santos Collection.[1]


The madonna figure in this painting is clearly defined as Filipino in complexion, costume, and features. The Mother Country is represented by the bright rising sun. A folded and creased white cloth represents a much desired freedom, as it opens into a calm blue space.  The quest for freedom is not easy, as it is filled with suffering and sacrifice, which is represented by a stain and a skull in the picture.[1]

History and context

Hanap ay Laya was said to have come at a time that was ripe for “regeneration” or a nationalist reform, heralded by paintings such as Bagong Pinay by Baens Santos and Bagong Umaga by Fernandez.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 CCP Encyclopedia of Philippine Art, 1st ed. Philippines: CCP Publications Office, 1994.
  2. Guillermo, Alice. Protest/revolutionary Art in the Philippines, 1970-1990. University of the Philippines Press, 2001.



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