The Sand Painter Honored at the Flame Tree Arts Festival

Jun Toves creating a sand painting. Photo by W.L Doromal ©2007

April 26, 2009

I was so happy to see that the amazing work of my friend renown artist, Jun Toves, was honored at this year's Flame Tree Art Festival. Jun, passed away in February this year, but his legacy lives on.  His talented sons, Barry and Albert III are continuing his work through their own sand paintings.

From the Marianas Variety:
On Friday, during the opening of the 28th Flame Tree Arts Festival, Gov. Benigno R. Fitial recognized seven notable local artist, including Toves.

His family received a certificate lauding the master sand painter’s artistic achievements and for encouraging the preservation of the CNMI’s rich and varied heritage art.
Toves’s widow, Carmen, said she is thankful that the people continue to appreciate the work of her husband.

“My heart is in pain but I am happy our sons are continuing his work. I hope the people will always remember him,” said Carmen Toves, a well-known herbalist and advocate of traditional medicine on Rota.

Her sons, Albert S. Toves III and Barrie Toves, are also sand painters like their father.

Toves III and his son Albert Toves IV are scheduled to hold a sand painting and handicraft exhibit on Saipan next month.

Toves III said since high school he has been interested in the arts and was one of the CNMI’s representatives to a art fair in Japan in 1990.

“Like my father, I’m trying to keep our culture and tradition alive,” he told Variety.

His father’s paintings were on display during this year’s Flame Tree Arts Festival.

He said their family has no plan to sell these paintings which they want to display in their own gallery on Rota for tourists and local residents alike.
I am so lucky to have been given a beautiful sand painting by Jun, which is one of my most cherished, in a collection of original art from the Marianas. 

Here are some beautiful sand paintings by Jun (photos by W. L. Doromal © 2007-2008):


Katherine Manglona said...

Thank you for honoring my uncle Jun...I was so blessed that when I was employed as the diversity program manager at the Governor's office in Oregon, my uncle provided two sand art to be shared with Oregonian...The sand art depicted the medicine woman and the other depicted the beautiful ocean life the island of Rota has...The medicine woman hung at the capitol for a period of three years and was enjoyed many Oregonians...The other sand art hung at the Mayor's office in Salem Oregon. I was fortunate to have the medicine woman return to me to now hang in my living room...forever reminding me where I come from. Thank you for honoring a great man, a great uncle who will always be loved, remembered and cherished.