UP Industrial Design students SEAN CORPUS and ANDREI ALY CHIO do a 3D scan of the Abueva masterpiece in UP Manila.

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The Celebration of Life, a sculpture by National Artist Napoleon Abueva, was commissioned by the UP College of Medicine Class of 74 as a gift to UP Manila. It was dedicated on the first of December, 2005 and the message at the base of the sculpture from the Class of 74 reads: “Through this legacy, we enjoin present and future generations of alumni to commit to the college ideals of science, culture, and empathy as we serve our country and our people.”

Dr. Rody Sy, professor emeritus of the UP College of Medicine and one of the members of the class of 74 says, “This artwork to me depicted several stages in life, depending on how you look at it or where you’d like to start. For me, I would like to start with the couple in love. It led eventually to the birth of the baby as shown by the woman holding up the baby upon birth. Eventually that led to several adult figures with outstretched arms, showing a joyful moment – maybe a celebration of a special occasion, or offering their services to their countrymen, or just
being thankful to the creator for being.”



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Abueva had made several sculptures on the Ecclesiastes which indubitably influenced how he approached Celebration of Life.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

a time to embrace
and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,

a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

What do workers gain from their toil?

I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.”