In an age of pop cultural superheroes, multiverses and galaxies far, far away, a group of artists decided to give props to the real heroes among us: the laborers who put entire industries upon their backs.


“(Our exhibit titled) “Dakilang Manggagawa” ay isang pagpupugay sa ating mga kababayan na walang sawang nagsasakripisyo alang-alang sa mamamayan. Kaya bilang pasasalamat, ito ang maging tribute namin para sa kanila.”


This is according to Rico Aunzo, spokesperson of the Masipag Artist Group (MAG), which is featured in an exhibit which is ongoing until July 31 at Robinsons Land ARTablado, Upper Ground Floor, Main Mall of Robinsons Antipolo.


The group had its origin in the Manawari Art Group page on Facebook in 2019. The members did not know each other formally. They would just communicate via social media and share their love for art and all things creative. The FB group evolved into a full-blown art group called Masipag to stress the importance of hard work, grit and perseverance to reach the summit of one’s career.


“Ang kasipagan ang susi ng kaginhawaan,” says Aunzo. The group takes inspiration from the words of the late great Tagalog poet Jose Corazon de Jesus: “Bawat patak ng pawis mo’y / yumayari ka ng dangal / dinadala mo ang lahi mo / sa luklukan ng tagumpay.”


The founder and president of MAG is neo-realist painter Naptalie “Rico” Aunzo, whose art style is characterized by a modern, traditional and cubist take on classic Filipino tropes and customs, with a recurring protagonist named “Pedrong Masipag.” Pedrong Masipag is meant to represent traits and virtues that an everyday Filipino possesses — as an antithesis to the poster-boy of laziness in Pinoy folklore, Juan Tamad. Pedrong Masipag is described as a decent gentleman, dressed in a traditional barong Tagalog and salakot, and often illustrated doing noble deeds.


With Aunzo are Daniel Dumaguit, sculptor-painter Nelson Basa, Pol A. Mesina (the founder of Artipolo Group Inc.), Jayson Borlon, Krister Jhude Isip, Rem Kulas, Mori, Hannah Castalone, Ton Muñoz, Efren Saludar, Rodgie Gapayao, Doodz Iligan, Dominic Gomez, Antonio Pacuan Jr., Leo De Fraga Torcelino, Joyce Pertez and Mark Aparato.


“Sila po ang naging aktibo sa nabuong grupo na ito at handang makipag tulungan upang maging successful ang kauna-unahang exhibit namin.”


The group is grateful to be given the spotlight by an art space known for welcoming artists from all walks of life.


“Ang ARTablado po ang magiging pinaka-malaking susi namin upang maisakatuparan po ang lahat ng aming nilalayon at pinapangarap. Dahil po diyan, taos-puso po ang pasasalamat namin sa Robinsons at sa bumubuo ng ARTablado.”


The people behind Robinsons Land Corporation (RLC) believe in the ingenuity and artistry of Filipinos. RLC has allocated spaces in Robinsons Antipolo and Robinsons Galleria Ortigas to hold exhibitions for art practitioners who deserve to showcase their hard work, grit and perseverance. ARTablado’s impact has been instantaneous for members of the art community who have been pining for a platform where every artist — young or old, established or up-and-coming — is welcome.

“Labis-labis ang galak namin na ang aming grupo ay makakapag-simula ng maabot ang pangarap. Ang tinitingalang ARTablado ay isang haligi na may matibay na pundasyon. Tiyak na ang aming pagsisikap ay mabibigyan ng ganap na suporta. At ito na po ang magiging simula ng katuparan ng aming mga pangarap.”

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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 numerous exhibitions and hosted over 300 artists.