Bits and Snippets of the Philippines

Basic Reading of Global Filipinos

Complicated, an Ongoing Exhibit at the Lopez Museum and Library

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(February 20, 2014) I was privy to preview the day before the new exhibit of the Lopez Museum and Library would have opened to the public. Aptly called “Complicated,” a pun of the popular social media status where men and women describe their relationship standing as uncommitted or cannot be defined for the moment. The exhibit is in partnership with Tin-aw Art Gallery and features the works of guest artists Mike Adrao, Leslie de Chavez, and Ea Torrado, while mixed with the works of Philippine art greats like Juan Luna, Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo, Juvenal Sanso, Bencab, Ang Kiukok, Jerry Elizalde Navarro and other artworks from the Lopez Museum collection.

Small pause: You have to make time to visit this exhibit. It’s a total must!

Moving on, it was my first time to visit the museum even if I’ve frequented the area where the Tektite office buildings are located for the past two decades. I got to nearby Mario’s Kitchen in time to meet the three artists together with the other bloggers invited by Lace Llanora of Vanilla Digital to the event. Introductions were made, food and drinks were served, and off we went for a quick stroll to the museum across the street.

Let me go through the three artists for you to understand who they are, where their creativity comes from, and how “Complicated” is represented in their works of art.

First off is Leslie de Chavez, a cum laude graduate of the University of the Philippines in the Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts, majoring in painting. He was the prize winner of the Ateneo Art Awards in 2010 and has been awarded residencies by International Art Programme in Leipzig, Germany, Neo-Emerging Artists Residency in Seoul, Korea, and Asian Artists Fellowship Program in Korea. Leslie’s several installations (or sculptures) and paintings in the exhibit focuses on colonization, not just as the context of our history, but as an ongoing process in which we are very much a part of – past, present and future all combined into his works of art. His works take a critical stance that aims to jolt audiences to reflexivity, awareness, and realization.

Our second artist is Mike Adrao, also a Fine Arts graduate from University of the Philippines graduate but who majored in Studio Arts. His works have also been shown in exhibitions in Korea and Malaysia. Adrao has been awarded artist residencies by NEAR Dangsang in Seoul, Korea and Project Space Pilipinas in Mandaluyong City. His creations of charcoal on paper works collectively titled “Colony” are intricately ornamented, larger-than-life anthropomorphic pillars and delicately drawn insects whose patterns were researched from the Lopez Library collection. All of them references the interplay of our living culture and those of the colonizers that have reached our shores.

The last artist is the rose among the men, so to speak. Ea Torrado is an independent contemporary dancer-choreographer. Yes, she’s a ballet dancer and not your visual artist on static representations. She has essayed principal and soloist roles in both classical and contemporary full-length ballets and has toured extensively in the Philippines and abroad with Ballet Manila, Ballet Philippines, and Dance Theatre of Tennessee. Torrado was also the ballet and contemporary dance teacher at the Cultural Center of the Philippines Dance School, Ballet Manila School, and Asian American Performing Arts Society. In 2013, she independently produced, conceptualized, and choreographed the dance theatre production Dots.

For Ea’s exhibit in the museum, she presents a three-channel video installation based on the frantic search of Jose Rizal’s Sisa and reflections on the museum’s iconic España y Filipinas by Juan Luna. Using Sisa’s search for her missing children as a metaphor of post-colonial identity, Torrado presents the search for the many desaparecidos and victims of extrajudicial killings in recent history as premised in the promises of modernity and progress which are both at the core of nation-building and Luna’s painting. This film is produced with the support of Tuchi Imperial, sound designer Chris Aronson, cinematographer and film editor Dan Pamintuan and the ABS CBN Film Archives.

Okay, going into the small projection room and watching her video brings back images of high school Filipino subjects whereby Sisa is looking for Crispin and Basilio. Yikes!

Quoting from the PR file I got, “These commissioned works are contextualized amid various collections from the museum’s painting and archival collections. Works by Juan Luna, Fabian Dela Rosa, Juvenal Sanso, Jerry Elizalde Navarro, Bencab, Ang Kiukok, among others, are exhibited with select books from the library’s collection and rich archive of colonial photographs, maps, travel journals, sketches and cartoons, including those done by Tony Velasquez (known for his creation of the early Filipino comics series Kenkoy), Liborio Gatbonton, and Mario Dangan. The exhibit is further supplemented by loaned artworks by Juvenal Sanso and contemporary artist Anton del Castillo.”

“Complicated” is curated by Ricky Francisco and Ethel Villafranca. It runs from February 21 to August 2, 2014 and is presented with support from Tin-aw Art Gallery. For more information, please call Tina at +63 (2) 6312417 or email lmmpasig@gmail.com.

Lopez Museum and Library is at the ground floor of Benpres Building at Meralco Avenue corner Exchange Road, Ortigas Center, Pasig City. Museum hours are 8:00am til 5:00pm, Mondays through Saturdays except Sundays and holidays.

Photos from @raffypekson and Vanilla Digital.

Some parts were copied from the media file given by Vanilla Digital.

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One Response

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  1. Hi there! Thank you for sharing your thoughts about our latest exhibition. We hope your readers can come and visit us at the Lopez Museum too! – Ethel Villafranca, Co-curator, Complicated

    Like

    Ethel Villafranca

    March 25, 2014 at 7:23 am


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