CULTURE TOP TEN
“Ligalig: Art in a Time of Turmoil,” at the Ateneo Art Gallery; getting to know the Cordillera region through the University of the Philippines’ Museo Kordilyera and “Skin Deep— The Tattoo Tradition of the Kalinga” at the College of Saint Benilde’s School of Design and Arts; and more.
Many of the country’s social and political woes are blamed on our culture’s forgetfulness and reluctance to learn from mistakes from the past; we may be also too quick to forgive. “Ligalig: Art in a Time of Turmoil,” presented by the Ateneo Art Gallery, tackles this head-on, curating from its vast archive of exemplary pieces dwelling on socio-political issues. Ligalig, which can be translated in a number of ominous ways, including threat, trouble, perturbation, and worry, features thought-provoking works by Martino Abellana, Virgilio Aviado, BenCab, Imelda Cajipe-Enday, Orlando Castillo, Charlie Co, Kiri Dalena, Antipas Delotavo, Alfredo Esquillo Jr., Edgar Talusan Fernandez, Anna Fer, Marciano Galang, Emmanuel Garibay, Ofelia Gelvezon-Tequi, Renato Habulan, Neil Manalo, Alfredo Manrique, Manny Montelibano, J. Elizalde Navarro, Galo Ocampo, Onib Olmedo, Jose Tence Ruiz, Pablo Baens Santos, and Lazaro Soriano. Mostly drawn from the social-realist vein, the paintings, prints, drawings, video projections, and mixed-media works from the 1960s to the present capture themes of poverty, the exploitation of workers, extra-judicial killings, martial law, and the destruction of the environment. Inserted between the artworks are framed poems, lyrics from protest songs, and open letters urging the Filipino to open his eyes, continue to be vigilant, and fight. While the subject matter is heavy, there are wondrous works of art which can be appreciated on their own. Galang’s Cavite, for example, an assemblage of discarded objects on canvas, looks modern and contemporary even though it was painted in 1974—only the style of shoes and branding on the tin cans jutting from the painting gives away its age. An early work from Esquillo, done in his early 20s in the 1990s, already reveals the rich talent and thoughtful, intelligent approach for which he is known today. Ongoing until May 20, Rizal Library, Ateneo de Manila University, Quezon City; 426.6488; ateneoartgallery.org.
FiGHtinG cHancE From above: a view of the ateneo art Gallery floor; piitan, by alfredo Esquillo; Krista, by pablo Baens Santos; cavite, by Marciano Galang.