Yasunari Ramon Suarez Taguchi (The Freeman) - January 4, 2018 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The year 2017 ended with an “untitled” art exhibit at the third level of the Ayala Center Cebu. The presentation, by Cebu Artists Inc. (CAI), was assembled with the perpetual presupposition of change; its immovable shifts and constant intervals.

Bereft of companion title cards for its featured artworks, the show was composed of landscapes, life-in-the-countryside scenes, harbor scenes and flowerscapes – a thematic convocation that, simply put, strew a ‘generic’ undercurrent to its waves.

But as cut-and-dry as the exhibit’s curatorial feel was, this detour to the commonplace was actually its heart and center, as it was not fully concerned with just presenting works but on shedding light to the changes and the constants of life.

The French expression “the more things change, the more they stay the same” (plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose, penned by French critic, journalist and novelist Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr) would’ve been an apt title for the show, as it served as a visual interpretation of the axiom.

Comprised of artworks by Bryle Aranco, Arnel Belda, Tina Marie Gandionco, Melver Mercado, Lucilo “Jojo” Sagayno and Marlone Ylanan, the exhibit effectively fitted Karr’s saying, depicting scenes that have and will continue to be, sights are always around year in and year out.

Like a wave that tells the other that another is on its way, the show pervaded how directional bearings in art (and, to a certain extent, in life) have a tendency to be mere footnotes as all roads lead to where the artist stands.

In a time when everyone is looking forward to the “next big thing,” CAI’s untitled show reintroduced viewers to who change is – prefacing change as someone who is familiar-yet-estranged with everyone.

The introduction starts with the welcoming amazement of novelty, flashes a route towards annoyance, banks towards the paradoxical aspects of closeness, shares a drink with forbearance, and then cycles back to novelty anew.

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