CUL­TURE TOP TEN

Town & Country (Philippines) - - CONTENTS / APRIL - Edited by Pierre A. Calasanz

“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.

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