The George Segal Gallery's new exhibit, “Triumph of Philippine Art" being held from September 21-December 15, focuses on contemporary Filipino and Filipino-American art. Depicting the history of the Philippine nation from political repression and unrest to rebellion and freedom, the exhibit is the centerpiece for event series, including lectures, political discussions, musical programs and artist dialogues, by dignitaries, human rights activists, world-renowned artists and authors. Montclair State University and the renowned Ayala Museum (Manila) are hosting the exhibition, in cooperation with the Philippine Consulate General of New York.
Inspired by the South Pacific archipelago’s long history of socio-economic/political struggles and their search for a national identity, the unique retrospective is the first exhibit to ever specifically use artwork to tell the nation’s political story, beginning with the oppression of the martial law period (1972-1986), leading up to the 1986 non-violent revolution that surprised the world and, ultimately, resulting in the vibrant and robust art of a free society at the turn of the 21st century.
“The exhibit features works produced during one of the most turbulent periods in Philippine history, which led to a paradigm shift in the nation’s political, economic and sociocultural life,” said Mario L. De Leon, Jr., consulate general of the Philippines. “The art of the period, as seen through the featured artists, mirrors the developments in these event-filled years and acts as a prism through which history and its ramifications are refracted and viewed. The imprint of 'Triumph of Philippine Art' will be felt for generations.”
Curated by M. Teresa Lapid Rodriguez, director of the George Segal Gallery and a Philippine-born artist/art historian who experienced first-hand the repressive regime of President Ferdinand Marcos, the exhibit is the centerpiece of a multi-disciplinary campus-wide series of events celebrating Filipino culture, history and art (see complete list below). Rodriguez will give a public lecture about the exhibit, offering historical context for Filipino art.
The timing of the exhibit coincides with the rise of a robust Asian-art collectors' market, in which contemporary Filipino art is experiencing a major surge in popularity. The combination of the country’s post-revolution rebirth of artistic freedom, the opening of national museums and private galleries and the creation of the National Commission on Culture Act in the late 20th century to promote the development of Filipino culture and arts, have aligned to make the Philippines a serious contender on the international art stage. Auction giants Sotheby’s and Christie’s have set up bases in Hong Kong and Singapore, where they regularly have Philippine art on their short lists of favorites due to its consistently good performance.
“Undoubtedly, the unique imagery of Filipino art can be attributed to the transformation that has occurred in the country over the past 50 years,” said Rodriguez. “That the Philippines is primitive, feudal, and modern--all at the same time--translates into an artistic advantage in establishing a body of distinctive work in the globally competitive art market. Considering that Filipino art was categorized as folk art by the Western art world and was rarely reviewed until 15 years ago, the highly-collectable status that Philippine art is currently enjoying is nothing short of a national triumph.”
The works selected for "Triumph of Philippine Art" fall into categories including Figurative Expressionism and Social Realism, Feminism, A New Generation in the 21st Century, and Conceptual Art and demonstrate the varied and distinctive imagery that represents Philippine contemporary art. Artists being featured are: Leo Abaya, Benedicto “BenCab” Cabrera, Buen Calubayan, Ernest Concepcion, Mideo Cruz, Imelda Cajipe-Endaya, Brenda Fajardo, Karen Ocampo Flores, Michael Rodriguez Gomez, Gregory Raymond Halili, Mark Orozco Justiniani, Julie Lluch, Athena Santos Magcase-Lopez, Racquel De Loyola, Renan Ortiz, Christina Quisumbing Ramilo, Mark Salvatus and Pablo Baen Santos.
Rodriguez said she is delighted by the international support that this exhibit has generated, and is gratified that it may bring further understanding, not only of the rich and complex Filipino history and culture, but also of the fact that art is a universal expression of the human experience on a global level. “Each work, in its own way, is a Filipino ambassador to the world, representing the struggles of a people and the ultimate emergence of a national identity,” said Rodriguez. “Montclair State University is honored to provide a venue for this powerful and fascinating collection, and we hope that it will serve as a point of pride for those of Filipino heritage, as well as ring true for people of all nationalities and ethnic backgrounds. Art, after all, is a universal expression, and struggle is – unfortunately – a global human condition.”
The exhibit is sponsored by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, John McMullen Family Foundation, proceeds from the George Segal Gallery Art Connections fund-raiser, and University of the Philippines Alumni Association, N.J.
Schedule of Related Events
For more information about the following events, including times, locations, registration and/or tickets, if any, please call the George Segal Gallery at 973-655-6941.)
September 21, 2013, 2 –5 p.m.
Educational Programs (at George Segal Gallery)
Wednesday, September 25: 9:00 a.m.
Online streaming: Montclair to Manila
Live dialogue with the artists
Thursday, October 10: 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
English in the Philippines: Burden or Benediction
Luis Francia, speaker
Thursday, October 17: 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
Triumph of Philippine Art
M. Teresa Lapid Rodriguez, speaker
Thursday, October 24: 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
The Colonial Roots of Violence Against Women in the Philippines
Ninotchka Rosca, speaker
Thursday, December 5: 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
Filipina Feminism and Sexuality
Dr. Jorshinelle Taleon-Sonza, speaker
Sunday, November 17: 1:45 p.m.
Classic Filipino Piano Scores played by Reynaldo Reyes
Leshowitz Recital Hall at Chapin Hall
Wednesday, December 4: 6:00 – 8:30 p.m.
Triumphant Future: Filipino-American Youth Forum
Student Center Ballroom
Saturday, December 7: 1:45 – 3:15 p.m.
Musical Journey: Struggles for Cultural Identity
Philippine Chamber Rondalla of NJ
Chorale Room at Chapin Hall
The George Segal Gallery's hours are: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday: 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.; Thursday: 12:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.; and Monday and Sunday: Closed.