ArtLit, Blog

Art Exhibit: Figura Filipina

February 25 – March 5. When you don’t have time to go to art exhibits, the art exhibits go to you.

Distinct art styles showcased by three figurative artists of the Philippines: MananQuil, Santiago and Miranda

I was surprised to find a small open exhibit in the activity area of Robinsons Galleria a few days ago. The paintings were focused on showcasing Filipino women in various contexts. Three artists were featured: Romi MananQuil, Nemi Miranda and August Santiago.

The thematic focus on Filipino women is very timely. We are celebrating International Women’s month, the passage of the extended maternity leave bill, and the progression of the Anti-Discrimination Bill. In the same breath, we are still fighting for equal and rational basic human rights. 

I wrote a short poetic reinterpretation on the struggles of Filipinos and women few days ago. 

“Figura Filipina”, an Art Exhibition for the benefit of the Art Association of Malabon

Many of the paintings were painted very recently (i.e. signed 2017). What’s great about the pieces of art is that they highlight the unique merits of each artist’s style. I also had a bit of time to review the exhibit itself.

I do regret not being able to properly label my photos with the title of the works. Miranda’s work in the first photo, for example, had a title that alluded to “The First Sin” or something similar. The title and other external elements like framing really do affect one’s interpretation of the work. Maybe you’ll catch this exhibit near you some time and you’ll be able to fully experience the art yourself.

Continue reading “Art Exhibit: Figura Filipina”

ArtLit, Blog

Exhibit: Handmade

We were walking around and stumbled upon this.

wpid-20150926_211454.jpg wpid-20150926_211511.jpg wpid-20150926_211523.jpg

The Cultural Center of the Philippines presents…

The use of craft in contemporary art means a dedication to materials and processes, though not entirely as a path to perfection and polish. On the contrary, the craft approach to art production shuns aesthetic perfection. Art that comes out of craftwork is a celebration of individuality amidst the spirit of globalism. It provides a concreteness and tactility that cyberspace can only offer virtually. It is in contrast to certain tendencies in globalism that promote a sense of cultural uniformity.

In their exhibit, artists Steph Palallos, Carmel Lim-Torres, and Josephine Turalba create diverse art highlighting the Handmade. They express personal experience rather than give voice to a collective social message. Consider Turalba’s leatherwork as a means to re-imagine landscapes from memory, or Palallos’ sewing fabric to construct garments that expose the ailing body, or Lim-Torres’ installation composed of paper, ceramics and wood to express hope amidst ecological peril. HANDMADE is curated by Leo Abaya.

Visit for more!


ArtLit, Blog, Essays

Exhibit: Ambeth Ocampo’s Rizal without the Overcoat

We were walking around and stumbled upon this.


Ayala Museum presents… 

Rizal without the Overcoat by Ambeth Ocampo has been in print for a quarter of a century and remains one of the most enjoyable means to re-discover the National Hero who has been fossilized in bronze and marble. Filipinos come to know Rizal through his image on the one peso coin, the basic unit of currency. Others recognize Rizal from the many monuments of him that dot the landscape from Aparri to Jolo. We see Rizal but hardly notice that the heavy winter overcoat he wears or carries is not appropriate to the tropical Philippines. Seeing Rizal plain, without the overcoat, makes him human and relevant to Filipinos of another generation he lived and died for. Rizal without the Overcoat is not the last word on the hero, 25 years later there remains a lot more to know about Rizal. Visit for more details.


This and the recent historical and action-packed biopic HENERAL LUNA remind me of a few chilling truths: 

I think it can make you feel a bit cold and haunted –literal chills– to remember that people like them did exist, and monsters like them as well. That the characters in our history books once lived in technicolor, and they had depth and emotions and complexities; that they were human, just like us, and that they were great in ways we may have forgotten how to be.

To think that centuries and eons ago, with foreign tools and on strange papers, with classic brushes and fresh canvases, intellectuals and heroes and geniuses like Jose Rizal, Apolinario Mabini, Juan and Antonio Luna once thought, rallied, survived. We are witnesses to echoes of blazing youths. The tricks time plays on our minds.