September 2016--Leo Abaya has an enviable sense of timing. In 1993, his student plate of a collage study of images from magazines, Views and Points of View won the Jurors Choice at the Art Association of the Philippine Annual Art Competition. What made his winning meaningful was that his mimetic exercise of sourcing preliminary images from magazines to demonstrate the long tradition of appropriation was intelligible to an audience. Abaya explores many disciplines that integrates collage, conceptual art, costumes, film, installation, literary art, painting, print, set design and sculpture. More often, he demonstrates with conviction that whenever a work he creates is presented, it hangs within a matrix of assumptions, conscious and unconscious that deeply influence the viewer’s perception of it. Pay attention as Leo Abaya discusses some of his select works, his rich educational background and art practice. What we may possibly witness in this interview is the palimpsest of our nation’s history.
June 2016--Known for his textured abstract paintings, Raul Piedra, still a college student in 1970, staged his first solo exhibition at the University of the East where he featured his paintings of botanicals, landscapes and still lifes of orchids using acrylic and watercolors. He put out another batch of the same subjects at the Waterfront Hotel in Lahug, Cebu in 1978. During the 1980s, he started his series of semi-abstraction of rock formations and horizons mixed with ancient Malayan alphabet. This brought about his style of textured abstraction of modern landscapes using subtle colors of blues, browns and grays. In this feature, his wife, Adoracion “Baby” Tayag Piedra, lets us in into the interior life of her husband and some important biographical details about the artist.
March 2016--This exhibit feature ancient ornaments crafted by our Filipino ancestor from 700 to 1,200 years ago. These form part of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Pre-Hispanic Gold Collection.
The illustration that depict how these exquisite gold pieces were used are from the Boxer Codex, a manuscript written in 1590 with colored drawings of ethnic groups in the Philippines at the time of their initial contact with the Spaniards.In the Philippines, the 10th and 14th centuries were years of political, economic, and social progress, when primary artistic and scientific development occurred. Unearthed gold ornaments manifest a rich material culture dating almost 300 years before Spanish colonizers discovered the island.
Of the metals abundance, the Spanish explorers who landed on the islands in the 16th century noted,” Pieces of gold, the size of walnuts and eggs, are found by sitting the earth in the island.” As gold was plentiful, ancient Filipinos mastered gold working and created splendid works of art that are exquisite demonstrations not only of the skillful.
June 2016--The construction of this beautiful Baroque Rococo church was begun in 1734, the year after the parish was established by the Augustinian Order and was completed in 1788.
On the bicentenary of her completion-specifically from September 29, 1907 until September 29, 1988--the feast day of St. Michael the Archangel patron saint of Argao and the Argavanons through the Argao Parish by the Centennial Commission headed by Rev. Fr. Jose C. Canseko, parish priest and the steering council headed by Hilario G. Davide, Jr. restored her and her premises to their original beauty and grandeur—in gratitude to their forebears who built her in thanksgiving to God for the countless blessings He showered and continue to shower upon them, as an expression of the constancy of their love for our Lady and their devotion to their patron saint and protector and as their spiritual gift to the generations yet to come.
The feast day was fittingly climaxed by a pontifical mass with his Eminence Ricardo J. Vidal
April 2012 -- The press has recently been full of reports about forgeries. In Europe, fakes by Wolfgang Beltracchi have embarrassed a number of experts and collectors. In the US, a painting purportedly by Jackson Pollock that was sold for $17m is the subject of a lawsuit against the now-closed Knoedler gallery and its former president Ann Freedman. This “Pollock”, moreover, seems to be only the tip of the iceberg, since it appears to belong to a surprisingly large collection of pictures supposedly painted by leading abstract expressionist artists. This collection was allegedly brokered by a previously obscure dealer named Glafira Rosales, who is now said to be the subject of an FBI investigation. The names attached to the paintings Rosales allegedly handled include Franz Kline, Willem de Kooning, Robert Motherwell, Barnett Newman, Mark Rothko and Clyfford Still, as well as Pollock.
One of these paintings, supposedly from the “Elegy to the Spanish Republic” series by Motherwell, was recently confirmed as a forgery by the Dedalus Foundation as part of a court settlement. The foundation, which I head, is sponsoring a catalogue raisonné of Motherwell’s work. Our experience with this and related works makes it clear how problematic the issue of authenticity has become for scholars, collectors, gallery owners, and foundations specialising in modern painting. Sharply rising prices and an increasing scarcity of major works have created a rich environment for forgers.
October 2015-- Ukiyo-e, the popular color woodblock prints of Japan, are globally recognized and renowned, but their raunchier examples tend to see less light, rarely going on public display. Known as shunga (“spring pictures”), these highly erotic scenes comprise a genre of their own, and an exhibition devoted entirely to them has opened for the first time in their country of origin. Shunga, currently on view at Tokyo’s Eisei-Bunko Museum, features 133 works shown over two consecutive display periods, with many attributed to familiar names such as Katsushika Hokusai and Utagawa Kuniyoshi.
The exhibition is preceded in scope by only one other show, which opened at the British Museum in 2013 and drew close to 90,000 visitors in three months. Nearly half of the works on display at Eisei Bunko come from the British Museum, with the rest borrowed from various Japanese museums and private collections. Open since mid-September, Shunga, too, is attracting so many people that organizers have been reporting heavy visitor congestion and 20-30-minute waiting lines. Despite the works’ popularity, their highly explicit nature is the chief reason behind their limited display in museums: as Japan Today notes, finding sponsors for large shunga exhibitions is difficult, and curators often express worry about public complaints. Ten establishments turned down requests to host Shunga before Eisei-Bunko offered its space, and the exhibit is restricted to museum-goers 18 years old and up (the British Museum advised parental guidance for those under 16).
September 2015--There are at least three major discursive issues that can be extracted from the document, Customs of the Tagalogs written by Juan de Plasencia in 1589, if we are to put socio-political context into the text – first, the issue of authorship; second, the discourse of power in colonial writing; and third, the logic of binarism or the Occident-Other dichotomy. These are interrelated threads that probably constitute major segments of colonial historical writing in the Philippines.
The authorial voice or authorship plays a pivotal role in putting meaning(s) to this colonial text. The author, Juan de Plasencia was, in the first place, not a native Tagalog but a Franciscan missionary who first arrived in the Philippines in 1577. He was tasked by the King of Spain to document the customs and traditions of the colonized (“natives”) based on, arguably, his own observations and judgments. Notably, de Plasencia wrote the Doctrina Cristiana, an early book on catechism and is believed to be the first book ever printed in the Philippines. Such initiatives were an accustomed practice of the colonizer during the Age of Discovery to enhance their superiority over the colonized and validity of their so-called duties and legacies to the World. It is a common fact that during this era, the Spanish colonizers, spearheaded by missionaries, drew a wide variety of texts ranging from travel narratives and accounts of the colony to even sermons.
In this particular text, de Plasencia tried to avoid discussing the “conflicting reports of the Indians” through an “informed observation” to obtain the “simple truth.” This “truth,” however, is debatable, and the manner of how he actually arrived to his reports is even more problematic. The text foregrounds two important figures: the observer (de Plasencia) himself, with his own background, subjectivites and biases; and the observer’s subject
October 20, 2009 -- EACOMM Corporation hosted a cocktail reception to celebrate the publication of its first book project, Private Collections. Almost three hundred guests turned up at the Isla Ballroom 3 of Edsa Shangri-La Hotel to welcome the release of the limited edition art book and to have it signed by the art collectors.
The audience had a warm and unforgettable moment that Tuesday evening. Artists and distinguished guests from the business, arts and society stood in lines to meet and have a chat with Washington SyCip, Hans Sy, David Consunji, Joey de Leon, Napoleon Abueva, Charlie Cojuangco, Joel Jimenez, Eddie Chua, Patrick Reyno, Mark Villar, Julius Babao, Arsenio Tanco, Jovenal Santiago, Manny Zialcita, Gilbert Santos, Wilmer Hontiveros, Louie Ojeda, Mikee Romero and Alexander Tan, who were recognized and honored that night.
Private Collections is available online and at Fully Booked.