Jose Maria Sison (1939–2022)


It is with great sadness to learn that on 16 December 2022 Professor Jose Maria Sison passed away. Having lived in exile in Utrecht, Professor Sison taught at the first New World Academy in 2013, Towards a People’s Culture, which BAK convened together with artist Jonas Staal in 2013. Professor Sison’s learnings on solidarity, friendship, resilience, and joy of the world in spite of its many hardships and struggles, will continue resonate strongly. Rest in power.


Sometimes the heart yearns

For mangoes where there are apples,

For orchids where there are tulips,

For warmth, where it is cold,

For mountainous islands,

Where there is flatland . . .


. . . The well-purposed exile continues

To fight for his motherland

Against those who banished him,

The unwelcomed exploiters of his people,

And is certain that he is at home

In his own country and the world.

— Jose Maria Sison, “Sometimes, the Heart Yearns for Mangoes,” 30 March 1994


In dialogue with Jose Maria Sison, Jonas Staal edited the first New World Academy reader: New World Academy Reader #1: Towards a People’s Culture (Utrecht: BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, 2013). The reader can be accessed online here.

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