Arts and Culture

Fernando Amorsolo classics come alive as Lego artworks

Kathleen A. Llemit - Philstar.com
Fernando Amorsolo classics come alive as Lego artworks
Brick mosaic art rendition of Fernando Amorsolo's "Bayanihan" (1959).
Fernando C. Amorsolo Art Foundation, Inc. / Pinoy Lego Users Group

MANILA, Philippines — Three masterpieces by National Artist for Visual Arts Fernando Amorsolo are turned into brick mosaic art at the ongoing "Project Amorsolo" exhibit from August 9 to 14 in Grand Atrium of the Shangri-La Plaza in Mandaluyong City. 

Members of the Pinoy Lego Users Group (PinoyLUG) recreated the scenes depicted in three of Amorsolo's beloved classics during the pandemic. PinoyLUG are Lego builders and hobbyists who did the project in cooperation with the Fernando C. Amorsolo Art Foundation, Inc. 

"Bayanihan" (1959) is an iconic oil on canvas painting by the "Old Man of Philippine Art," with its depiction of the Filipino custom of helping each other. In this painting, villagers are seen lifting a bahay kubo while a figure wearing a salakot (straw hat) leads them to the nipa hut's new home. This lovely picture of bayanihan is accentuated with Amorsolo's penchant for light, its profusion in similarly hued colors that often render a dramatic effect on his subjects.

"Bayanihan" was donated to the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Museum by the family of the late former President Diosdado Macapagal, who was a bar topnotcher alumnus from the UST Faculty of Civil Law in 1933.  

"Early Traders" (1959) is another piece that depicts a number of subjects engaged in an activity. This time, it features natives engaging with Western merchants in what literatures have said was a bartering transaction. 

"Dalagang Bukid" (1937) is among Amorsolo's portraits. This particular portrait is easily identifiable with the master artist with its smiling subject dressed in Filipiniana while holding a clay jar (banga). Apart from his landscapes, Amorsolo was also into painting portraits, many of which were commissioned works. 

These masterpieces were handpicked by PinoyLUG to be made into brick mosaic art for their themes that are aligned with Lego’s mission of creating communities that build and share together. 

"Project Amorsolo" is also a timely endeavor because it coincides with the 50th anniversary of Amorsolo's naming as the country's first National Artist. 

He was conferred the title on April 28, 1972, four days after his death due to heart failure at the age of 79 on April 24, 1972. 

Apart from viewing the Amorsolo brick mosaic art exhibit, mallgoers can join the Lego Free Play and Activity. It is held in partnership with ToysRUs, where anyone can join and build their own Lego masterpiece throughout the exhibit period. 

There is also the Painting for Kids Workshop led by the Fernando C. Amorsolo Art Foundation, Inc. on August 13 from 10:30 a.m.  to 2:30 p.m. Registration fee is P800, inclusive of art materials. The same foundation is also hosting the Sketching for Adults Workshop on August 14 from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. with a registration fee of P500, inclusive of art materials. Interested participants can join by sending an email to [email protected] 

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