In theme with today’s workshop at the Yuchengco Museum (“An Introduction to Writing about Arts and Culture”), here’s a rundown of some of my favorite Filipino visual artists. I say SOME and mean it, because there’s A LOT of art that I enjoy, and I might not remember everyone off the top of my head.
You might be able to see a pattern here, based on the kind of art and the pieces that I enjoy. 🙂
1. Roy Veneracion
To many, he is Roy Veneracion, visual artist (and father of actor Ian), but to me, he’s simply “Tito Roy.” Married to my mom’s younger sister, Susan, Tito Roy was a fixture of my youth, and I spent many an innocent time playing with my cousins at their home. One of my favorite memories was of me and my Kuya Ian building a sword and shield out of wood (with a real saw, yes), then painting them and finally playing with them. (I think that also marked my first encounter with a T-square.) I owe my deep appreciation of (mostly abstract) art and design to Tito Roy and his family, who literally and figuratively made my childhood very colorful.
He is also known for the style called “Syncretism”, which according to the dictionary is “the fusion of two or more originally different inflectional forms.” Tito Roy’s paintings often juxtaposed the representational and the abstract, the concrete and the seemingly intangible, often portraying the many paradoxes that accompany us in life anyway.
Here is one of my favorites from his current works:
2. Pacita Abad
I first heard of Pacita Abad many years ago, when as a teenager I saw the work that she was beginning to do for the Singapore Bridge. At the close of last year, when I decided to gift my husband with an impromptu New Year trip to Batanes, we made sure to spend time in Fundacion Pacita, the bed and breakfast which used to be Pacita’s workshop. It was my first time to be immersed in Pacita’s world, and seeing her works and the snippets of her life just made me want to memorize each artwork and buy all the books that were being sold there! If I could gift myself with a writing retreat, I would definitely do it back in Fundacion Pacita. (And maybe I should attempt to do that next year!)
Here, according to her Facebook page, is a summary of Pacita’s life:
“Pacita Abad (1946–2004) was born in Basco, Batanes, a small island in the northernmost part of the Philippines, between Luzon and Taiwan. Her more than 32-year painting career began when she travelled to the United States to undertake graduate studies. She had over 40 solo exhibitions at museums and galleries in the U.S., Asia, Europe, Africa and Latin America. She also participated in more than 50 group and traveling exhibitions throughout the world. Abad’s work is now in public, corporate and private art collections in over 70 countries.”
Read more information in PacitaAbad.com. In the meantime, here are some of her delightfully and passionately colorful works:
3. Trek Valdizno
I encountered Trek Valdizno’s work through my then-art editor at MEGA, Francis Manalo, who initiated me into the wonderful world of art writing a few years ago. When I met Trek in 2007 (if I’m not mistaken), I was immediately taken by his abstractions, which to him were representations of his rural surroundings in Bulacan, but which to me were showings of talent waiting to explode. I still don’t know much about art as I would like to, but I know passion when I see it. Trek’s paintings are as passionate as they are violent, as vibrant as they are melancholy (to me, at least).
Here’s a portion of a Valdizno painting that I have in my room (one of four which I am blessed to own)…
… And here’s another one that was exhibited at Galeria Duemila in June:
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I realize that there’s a lot more to say and share, and not enough time and space to do so. I’ll make sure to do a follow-up post on my other Filipino art favorites. In the meantime, here’s hoping that a new generation of arts and culture writers will share more about the color and the beauty of our own culture.