Photos from left: Bahaghari ng Malolos Samahang Makasining Biswal, Flame by Salvador Ching, The Beauty of Nature by Ardee Balugo Binalangbang and My Hideout Cloud by Ross Dionisio
The idea behind the exhibition is to try to convey the concepts of what is elemental: who or what created and jump-started the universe as we know it, the Big Bang or something else entirely inexplicable. The key is in approximating the unseen.
According to the artist statement: “To look back is not necessarily to look past everything; it is important to commemorate how the commencement was executed. Relive the creation of the contributors of your experiences. Walk through history and memory. Let it all sink in. It is important to roll it back once in a while.”
Such a tall and intriguing task for members of the artist collective known as Bahaghari ng Malolos Samahang Makasining Biswal, which was formed in 1992 in — as part of the humblest of origins — an art-and-frame stall in Malolos’ old public market. Since then, the group has mounted exhibitions in The White Box Gallery, Galleria De Las Islas, Gallery Nine, Museo ng Republika ng 1899, Hacienda Luisita, SSS Gallery, GSIS Museo ng Sining, Gallerie Astra, The Artologist Gallery in Greenhills, and Stuart Gallery in Malolos.
The 21 artists of Bahaghari ng Malolos open the year with “Elemento,” which is on view until January 15 at Robinsons Land ARTablado, Level 3 of Robinsons Galleria.
Salvador “Buddy” Ching is a multi-awarded artist who has exhibited in Indonesia, Cuba, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan, Thailand, China and the US. Marlon John Tantoco is the current president of Bahaghari ng Malolos. Ross Dionisio mixes different art forms to create new styles and unique works. In 2018, Edgar Estrada participated in the restoration of a 1976 Amadeo Manalad mural at the Malolos City Capitol. CJ Trinidad turns his paintings-on-canvas into wearable items. For Ardee Balugo Binalangbang, art makes viewers see “the colors of their own imagination.” Oliver Marquez enjoys distorting figures. Roen Capule is known for his sculptures composed of fork, spoon and other utensils in resin. Joey Camua believes that it is not the signature on the paintings that leaves a mark; it is how your name lives on in every person you meet. Grace Santos adds elements of mixed media in her works to give them more depth and meaning.
“Elemento” also features the works of Rolly “Zur” Dela Cruz from Tabang, Plaridel; Rodel Omampo who was born in Barangay Palanan, Makati but is now based in Bulacan; Jonathan “Jonet” Carpio who is a graduate of the University of the East; Roda Du Alday; Rex S. Tatlonghari; Michael Dela Cruz; Francisco Miranda Jr.; Jayson Robles from Malolos; Charles Andrei Espiritu; and Emmanuel Bagtas.
As one would expect, the artists of Bahaghari ng Malolos deliver a rainbow of different aesthetics, a mix of different strategies and sensibilities. Michael Dela Cruz goes for an amalgam of butterflies, organs, clock mechanism and assorted veins in “Banyuhay” to depict a cocooning eco-system. Francisco Miranda creates a surreal juxtaposition of a girl, blue-red-and-yellow feathers, and a flying saucer in “The Guardian.” Salvador Ching makes the canvas breathe with his minimalist abstract titled “Wind,” while Ardee Balugo Binalangbang goes all out with his textural composition in “The Beauty of Nature.” Rex Taglonghari flexes his photo-realistic skills in “Secured.” Jonet Carpio creates the totem-like “Babaye-land (Babaylan).” Oliver Marquez crams cutesy figures into “Bakasyonista,” while Marlon Tantoco creates a metaphor for the beginning of life in “Genesis.” Different, diverging approaches, yes; but unified in their goal of presenting what is elemental in creation.
Established in 2020, Robinsons Land ARTablado, a portmanteau of “art” and “entablado” is Robinsons Land’s very own stage in showcasing the Filipino ingenuity and creativity. This platform allows emerging artists to freely express themselves through art and paves the way to greater recognition of their talent and hard work. To date, ARTablado has mounted 42 exhibitions and hosted over 300 artists.