Arts and Culture

Recent works by a living master

Maybe once every decade or two, a true master artist is born. If we are lucky, this master in waiting will be given the right opportunities in his lifetime, and his talents will be properly nurtured and cultivated. If we are truly fortunate, maybe once in a generation, the confluence of circumstances will result in the master achieving his full potential and taking his rightful place in the annals of art history."

Taken from the catalog of Kiukok: Recent Works 2000-2004 which I had the privilege and pleasure to pen, the above quoted introduction is a summation of how fortunate we are to be able to enjoy the art of the legendary Ang Kiukok.

In 1954, Kiukok embarked on his first one-man show. Some 50 years later, he celebrates the start of his sixth decade as a professional artist with Kiukok: Recent Works 2000-2004. Albeit an exhibition-only show, this retrospective showcases the best of Kiukok’s works from the past five years.

Held last Feb. 25, the opening was a gathering of Kiukok’s friends, collectors, admirers and perhaps most importantly, his family.

"Although continuing many of his familiar themes such as ‘Harvests’ and ‘Windows,’ he has also ventured into some works with more abstractions such as ’Potted Plant’ and revisited some of his mentor Manansala’s cubist style. In spite of the fact that his people are still bald with an almost skeletal quality, his ‘Lovers’ now share some joy in their union as they are surrounded in pastel colors of light blue and pink. ‘Mother and Child’ no longer depict the pain and sacrifice of motherhood instead reflecting the warmth of love and joy… Dictated by how he sees the world, Kiukok has always portrayed his visions on canvas. In an earlier time, when he seemingly had little hope or faith in mankind, he would paint sad clowns, mothers suffering for their children, and people fighting like animals. Emaciated Christs were crucified and a dark Darwinian terrain reflected the hoplessness of his angst-ridden world. In recent years however, there has been an apparent mellowing… Maybe a renewal of some faith in man? Or perhaps it is just a necessary reaction to the mother of all that brings joy into life – his family."

It is very rare to have an opportunity to see the quality of art that is now on exhibit at the Art Center as all these pieces come from private collections and are almost never publicly exhibited. This rare chance to have a glimpse at some of the best works of a true living legend in the art world is an absolute must for any art lover or aficionado as it is a microcosm of the artist’s body of work from recent years. Showcasing the best of the best, this exhibit is a definitive demonstration of Kiukok’s mastery of his medium and an irrefutable display of his boundless talent. It is certainly an occasion for the public that may not be repeated for years to come.

Having spent some time with Kiukok these past few years, I see a man who is far more at peace than his early years. He enjoys spending time with his granddaughter and taking the time to go on vacations, finally having the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of his success and results of years of hard work. It is truly wonderful that such a deserving man finally has the time to benefit from the many joys that he has shared with others all his life.
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Kiukok: Recent Works 2000-2004 is on view until March 13 at the Art Center, at the fourth floor of SM Megamall Bldg. A, Mandaluyong City. The catalog is available at the exhibit or from Finale Art Gallery. For inquiries, call 813-2310 or e-mail [email protected]
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