Art of spin challenges the duality of language in Susmaryosep! exhibit
This is a press release from Sining Kamalig Art Gallery:
MANILA, Philippines - Today, more than ever, the Filipino public is advised to go beyond the literal meaning of words. To understand is to go deeper, to read between the lines, or to simply ignore increasing pronouncements that are perennially perplexing, abusive and alarming. A common curse hurled brazenly to rebuke must be taken as a mere expression devoid of any damaging implications. A universal expletive can be, in fact, just a phrase to make a point. Now is a time when people are told to forgo the usual connotation of common expressions, and to invent new ones to save oneself. It is a time when many are lost in translation, and speaking a common language is inadequate. If misinterpreted, one may just invoke a personal childhood tragedy or even the nation’s distant past to justify unbecoming behavior, as long as it is followed by seeking forgiveness. Filipinos are asked to use their creative imagination, or forever be at a loss.
In a painting exhibit, “Susmaryosep!,” artist and University of the Philippines Fine Arts professor Marco Ruben T. Malto II resorts to pun or play on words to offer new meanings to familiar lines or phrases. Malto’s latest works mirror widespread images surrounding the country brought about by current social, political and economic events that often prompt people to cry Susmaryosep! The artist also features how the Filipino faithful’s devotions to popular Catholic religious icons, and the beliefs that they represent, continue to manifest themselves in these troubled times.
When tomorrow becomes bleak, Malto believes a glimpse into the past can offer an understanding of the present and can be helpful to get right back on track for the future. Our Spanish colonial history, for one, can offer a lesson in tackling today’s language constraints. When the Spanish conquerors were attempting to convert the indigenous animistic believers and the followers of Islam into Christianity, words alone did not get the job done. Upon reaching the Philippine shores, the Spanish strategy was to use images to address the language barrier with local inhabitants. Drawing on the visual appeal of the colourful icons of the Roman Catholic Church, religious artworks were produced under the strict supervision of Spanish friars for colonialism, catechism and the construction of a culture built around the church. The proliferation of Catholic religious icons succeeded in displacing the pre-colonial practice of idol-worshiping and image-making, which were stigmatized as paganistic by the colonial regime. In their stead stood the Catholic icons of saints whose lives of ultimate worship and suffering for the faith should be aspired to and imitated.
Malto has heeded the call-- using his “creative imagination”, Malto’s suggestive narratives by referencing religious images in his paintings reflect today’s reality and the artist’s inner subjectivity.
Susmaryosep! opens on Nov. 27, Sunday, 4pm at Sining Kamalig Art Gallery, Upper Ground Floor, Ali Mall, Araneta Center, Cubao. The exhibit will run from Nov. 27 – Dec. 31, 2016. Gallery hours are from 11am to 9pm, daily. - Rappler.com