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National Arts Month: Must-know Filipino artists, must-visit exhibits |

Arts and Culture

National Arts Month: Must-know Filipino artists, must-visit exhibits

Dolly Dy-Zulueta - The Philippine Star
National Arts Month: Must-know Filipino artists, must-visit exhibits
Artists in the "Master's Touch" exhibit, from left: Juno Galang, Al Perez, Fernando Sena, Lander Blaza, Paul Dimalanta, and Raul Isidro
Photo release

MANILA, Philippines — In celebration of National Arts Month and 10 Days of Art by Art Fair Philippines, Art Lounge Manila is pleased to present one of the country’s foremost and most respected visual artists, Edgar Doctor, in a rare, all abstract solo exhibition, “Harana.” 

A fast-disappearing cultural form, the harana is a formal declaration of affection by a man to his beloved, expressed as a serenade at night.  Often accompanied by his closest friends who would most likely be accompanying him with a guitar and other stringed instruments, the man’s song, often in the form of the soulful, melodious, and poetic kundiman, is heard not just by his beloved, but often by her family, and neighbors within earshot, making his romantic intent known not just to the object of his affection, but by the community in general.  It is a grand gesture which signifies not only affection, but the purity of intention, laid down most respectfully for the beloved, but also for everyone to bear witness to.  

Doctor presents his exhibition as a heartfelt harana to those who would care to be touched by his paintings that, though silent and wordless, are nonetheless visually melodious with their lyrical abstract expressionism.  Layers of color, in various levels of transparency are punctuated with the rhythm of flowing lines, jagged lines, and contrasting colors, imbibing a lively rhythm and complexity to each piece. Each composition is a passionate paean to nature in her attributes as nurturing mother, transcendent beauty, sustaining love. In the words of the artist, each piece is “frozen music” which connects to the innermost being of the viewer.  

A consistent art competition winner, Doctor has been recognized since 1960, when at 18 years of age, his work “Grazing Carabaos” won third prize at the Shell National Students art Competition.  His work “Rizal Monument” would win him the grand prize in this same competition four years later.  He would win subsequent accolades in the Art Association of the Philippines (AAP) Annual Exhibition.  His foray into sculpture is also marked by the Best Entry Award for his Metropolis #2 by the Society of Philippine Sculptors in 1971, and “Economic Aggression” would be the grand prize in 1972 in the AAP Annual Exhibition.  He has had over 25 solo exhibitions and countless group exhibitions in various institutions and galleries in the country and abroad, such as the International Exhibition of Drawings at the Triennial in New Delhi in 1978, The Festival de la Peinture in Cagnes Sur Mer, France and the VIII Biennial of Fine Arts in Valparaiso, Chile in 1985, among others.  His works are in many important personal collections and a good number of institutional collections which include the National Museum of the Philippines, the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the Ateneo Art Gallery, De la Salle University Museum, GSIS Museum, The Central Bank Collection, The Philippine Center Collection, New York among many others.  For his dedication and excellence in art, he has been awarded the Tanglaw ng Bayan Mayoralty Award in 1999 in Calabanga, Camarines Sur. He was recently awarded as one of the Lifetime Awardees of the 4th Las Piñas Kawayan Award for Visual Arts in 2021.

Doctor’s "Harana" is a call not only to appreciate and preserve the beauty of nature, but also to ponder community and how we live life in this fast-paced, impersonal city. It is a deep expression of the need connection with ourselves, each other, with nature, and with the Creator from whom all these good things emanate from. 

"Harana" is supported by the National Commission of Culture and Arts and 10 Days of Art by Art Fair Philippines. It is presented by Art Lounge Manila at Molito Lifestyle Mall, Ayala Alabang, until February 16. For more information, visit the Art Lounge Manila website You may also check their social media pages FB: @artloungemanila IG: @artloungemanila for more details.

'Ako ang Lupa - Ang iyong planeta' and 'Summer Wind' by Edgar Doctor

Meanwhile, six renowned visual artists Lander Blaza, Paul Dimalanta, Juno Galang, Al Perez, Fernando Sena, and Raul Isidro come together in one special exhibit, Master’s Touch, at drybrush Gallery, located at SM MOA Square at the Mall of Asia Complex in Pasay City.

Ongoing until February 28, 2023, Master’s Touch not only features a diverse range of visual artworks, such as paintings, sculptures and mixed media pieces. The exhibit also effectively demonstrates the different techniques utilized by the artists to express themselves and the different journeys that the artists went through to become the masters that they are now.

Multidisciplinary artist Lander Blaza is known for his “translayering” technique, coined after the words “transparent” and “layering.” He has staged more than 100 group exhibitions locally and his works have been featured in six international exhibits, held in Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, the United Kingdom, and Italy.

Paul Dimalanta created the Kamay ni Hesus shrine in his home province of Quezon. It is now both a tourist attraction and a landmark. He had also been commissioned to make a mural in Gandara Church in Samar and has worked in the movie industry.

Juno Galang and his paintings "Inside the Bubble," "Fish Series #3" and "Tres Pescados"

Self-taught artist Juno Galang learned painting techniques from different artists in the Malate art scene when he was young. He migrated to the United States later on, worked as a freelance artist-illustrator in San Francisco, Seattle, New York and Vancouver, then moved to Honolulu, Hawaii, to become a full-time painter. He is now home in Parañaque, painting modern and vibrant combinations of colors in cubism and modern Impressionism as influenced by Van Gohj, Gauguin and Picasso.

Al Perez is best known for his church paintings. He works with different media, including watercolor, oil pastel, and pen and ink. His works reflect deep spirituality and passion for the Filipino soul and identity. He does portraits, still-life, landscapes, metal and wood sculptures, and scrap art.

Fernando Sena gained popularity for depicting themes that Filipinos can easily relate to, such as religious icons, pan de sal, barong-barong, and a pile of assorted toys. His pan de sal series is acknowledged to be the single most significant body of work that immortalizes the common bread on canvas. Known as the Father of Philippine Art Workshops, Sena has appeared in countless radio and TV shows and, lately, YouTube videos, Facebook and blogs.

Raul Isidro and his paintings "Green Formation" and "Summer Festival #2"

Filipino contemporary artist Raul Isidro is an abstractionist and multi-awarded painter whose works depict the beauty and color of nature. He has had hundreds of solo and group exhibits both in and out of the country. He was dean of the College of Fine Arts, Philippine Women’s University.

Drybrush Gallery’s Master’s Touch is a rare occasion for art enthusiasts to view the works of the six accomplished artists.

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