Three artists — Nemesio “Nemi” Miranda, August Santiago Jr. and Romeo “Romi” Mananquil — showcase around 30 paintings and sculptures in an exhibition dubbed as “Figura Filipina,” which opens on Feb. 24 (Friday), 5 p.m., at the Activity Area, Level 1 of Robinsons Galleria, EDSA corner Ortigas Ave. The show is on view until March. 4.
The show opens in time for the annual celebration of the People Power Revolution. NeMiranda, Mananquil and Santiago specifically chose Robinsons Galleria as the venue for their exhibition, which aims to celebrate the body, soul and essence of the Filipino — radiant in times of calm and quietude, defiant in the face of hardships and subjugation — because of the site’s role in the ousting of a dictator.
The art of NeMiranda revolves around urban imagery and mythology. He draws inspiration from Filipino myths and legends, especially those that were told by the elders in NeMiranda’s beloved Angono, Rizal. He breathes new life into these ancient stories via an artistic style coined by Miranda himself: imaginative figurism. Aside from folktales, the artist is also fascinated with Philippine historical events, his iconography characterized by heroes and histories. In his works, NeMiranda often takes the viewers on a trip to an idyllic, idealized Philippines: where a hardworking farmhand serenades a lovely barrio lass (“Harana”) and a vision of Malakas and Maganda are captured in a dance of cosmic courtship (“Himig ng Kalikasan”).
Romi Mananquil made his mark in the ‘80s when Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas commissioned him to design the flora and fauna series of banknotes and coins together with two other artists. In more than 40 years as an artist, he became a member or affiliated with the Art Association of the Philippines (AAP), Society of Philippine Illustrators & Cartoonists (SPIC), Association of National Illustrators (ANI), Figura (Figure Artists), grUPo (Artists from UP), Lakan Sining ng Bulakan, the Saturday Group and the Philippine Historical Association. As for his usual iconography, Romi contemplates the quiet rural life of his homeland: a gathering of trike drivers over a humble midday repast (“Tanghalian”), the breaking of morning in a small yet picturesque barrio (“Umaga sa Nayon”), and the solitude of a simple hut upon the outskirts of town (“Abandoned Hut”) — paintings that communicate a stress-free, almost solemn way of existence.
Malabon is the hometown of August Santiago Jr., a visual artists and visual arts instructor. The man is a GintongParangal awardee for the Promotion & Preservation of Culture and the Arts. He was one of the country’s representatives to Malaysia for ArtDialogo in 2016 and to Toronto, Canada for the Philippine Independence Day Art Exhibition in 2001. He is affiliated with art organizations such as Agos Kulay Watercolor Society of Manila, Sining Tambobong, the Tuesday Group, as well as the Amber Art Group. Santiago shows his mastery of a challenging medium such as watercolor in works such as “Child’s Play” (complete with a boy’s improvised hat with a National Book Store logo), “Dalagita” (two women conversing about something clandestine and intriguing), and “Water Bearer” (an archetypal maiden destined to fulfill an important role in the community).
These three artists continue to show their love of country life in their respective oeuvres through the years, spotlighting the contributions of Filipino women with beauty, dignity and quiet strength.
Thus, Galleria visitors will see for themselves the mastery of these artists over their materials and the narratives of their milieu. Expect Robinsons Galleria to mount exhibitions such as this because the people behind the mall believe in the beauty of Filipino art and the power of its message.
For information, call 397-1888 or check www.facebook.com/RobGalleriaOfficial.