The Philippine Star
A TRIBUTE TO ABUEVA AND RODRIGUEZ AT SM CITY CEBU
MANUEL RODRIGUEZ, SR.: THE FATHER OF CONTEMPORARY PHILIPPINE PRINTMAKING
My City, My SM, My Art’’ returns to the Queen City of the South as it celebrates the lives and works of two master artists from the Visayas — National Artist Napoleon Abueva and Manuel Rodriguez, Sr. — in an exhibit slated from March 2 to 8 at the Northwing Atrium of SM City Cebu.
While they represent different genres — Abueva is considered the Father of Modern Philippine Sculpture; and Rodriguez is known as the Father of Contemporary Philippine Printmaking — their contribution to Philippine art is invaluable. And they have brought much pride to their respective home provinces of Bohol and Cebu with their amazing body of work.
The exhibit will also highlight the works of Martino Abellana, the Dean of Cebuano Painters, who has taught and influenced an entire generation of Cebuano artists. Joining them in this celebration of Eastern and Central Visayan artistry are Dante Enage of Leyte; Kitty Taniguchi of Dumaguete; Henri Cainglet of Bohol; as well as Jun Impas, Celso Pepito and Adeste Deguilmo of Cebu.
A celebration of Philippine visual arts, ’’My City, My SM,’’ My Art is a joint project of SM, the Metropolitan Museum of Manila, the Shell Companies of the Philippines, and the Philippine STAR with support from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and Centerstage Productions.
’’My City, My SM’’ Art brings art and people together by showcasing the works of masters, modernists and millennials around the SM Supermalls. Advocating art for all, the team works with communities to mount exhibits, workshops and contests in key cities around the Philippines.
Manuel “Mang Maning” Rodriguez is considered as the Father of Contemporary Philippine Printmaking. Born in Cebu in 1912, he was a precocious child. When he was in Grade 3, he helped his teacher draw a map of Cebu. His talent — and his own deep spirituality — would later make him say that it was the Lord who planned that he would become an artist.
Rodriguez left Cebu in 1935 and moved to Manila to attend the University of the Philippines School of Fine Arts, where he was mentored by Philippine artists Toribio Herrera, Fernando and Pablo Amorsolo, Fabián de la Rosa and Ramon Peralta.
In the 1930s, Rodriguez was first introduced to the art of printmaking and in 1948 he spent a lot of his time reproducing his paintings via screenprinting methods. Rodriguez began to really experiment with printmaking in the 1950s, making greeting cards of rural Philippine life.
He says that printmaking is unique because by creating multi-originals, this art form could help bring art closer to the masses.
He left the Philippines in the 1960s for New York to pursue a Rockefeller printmaking scholarship at the prestigious Pratt Graphic Center, and later worked in the print department of the Museum of Modern Art.
Returning to the Philippines in 1962, he opened a printmaking workshop next to his family-owned art gallery, and introduced college students to graphic arts. Rodriguez revitalized printmaking by improvising original machines and materials for etching on metal. He invented a roller press and metals he found at a jeepney factory.
In 1968, he formed the Philippine Association of Printmakers. For many years, he brought his prints to art shows across the continents and toured the Philippines giving lectures and demonstrations on his craft.
Rodriguez moved back to the US in the ’70s and settled in New York. There, he established “Interarts,” an organization of artists, musicians and writers. He also returned to his other love — painting, experimenting with new tools and mediums and creating his own style by using impressive distortion of forms, palpable rhythm, poetic symbols and collages.
Rodriguez won many awards for his work — the National Heritage Award in 1967, Patnubay ng Kalinigan Award in 1979, and the University of the Philippines Alumni Association of New York Achievement Award in 1991. In 2007, he was honored with the Presidential Merit Award for his contribution to the visual arts.
Although he passed away in 2017, Rodriguez lives on through his work and the many lives he touched.
A tribute to Abueva and Rodriguez...