Elmer Borlongan, Ai Weiwei art for viewing at Ayala Museum
MANILA, Philippines – A major art event is in store for casual viewers and connoisseurs alike for the remainder of National Arts Month.
Thirteen Artists awardee Elmer Borlongan launched his exhibit In City and Country Monday, February 17, at the Ayala Museum. The exhibit contains pieces of art spanning 20 years of his career, from 1992 to 2012.
Borlongan's art is well known for conveying the everyday stories of survival and endurance amidst poverty and despair.
In a private tour for the media held prior to the opening, Borlongan narrated stories behind some of the pieces on display.
"My paintings are firsthand. I paint things that I see everyday," Borlongan said. Case in point: Gabay, painted in 1994, depicts an armless Jesus Christ sitting in the passenger seat of a car being driven by a man dressed in regular clothes.
Borlongan says the painting was actually inspired by something he once saw along a major highway in the country: a man, driving with a wooden sculpture of Jesus Christ in the font seat. The scene, he said, made him look twice – and that's how Gabay came to be.
The artist got his degree in Painting from the University of the Philippines' College of Fine Arts in 1987. A number of his works now belong to the public collections of foreign museums such as the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum and the Tokyo Museum of Contemporary Art in Japan, the Queensland Art Gallery in Australia, and the Singapore Art Museum.
Borlongan's works continue to bring the lives of Filipinos into the spotlight, from the fishermen in the provinces to the beggars on the unforgiving city streets.
His exhibit will run until April 6.
On Friday, February 21, controversial Chinese artist Ai Weiwei's installation called Baby Formula will also be at the Ayala Museum. The exhibit will run until March 16.
The exhibit was first launched at the Sheung Wan Civic Centre in Hong Kong in May 2013, and was transferred to Singapore's Galerie Michael Janssen in August.
This is Ai Weiwei's second show in Southeast Asia and the first in the Philippines.
Ai Weiwei is known for politically themed artwork as well as his open criticism of the Chinese government. In China, the artist remains subject to travel restrictions, and his presence online is also guarded. He is known worldwide as a prominent art activist.
Baby Formula consists of 1,815 tin cans of 7 popular baby milk formula brands in Hong Kong, arranged to look like a map of China and Taiwan. It is accompanied by panels showing text images on baby formula cans written by Ai Weiwei himself.
The artist was inspired by the issue of children's milk safety in China and the restriction in trade policies between mainland China and Hong Kong due to the food product scandal of 2008. In the issue, milk formula and other types of food were reportedly found to have traces of the poisonous organic base called melamine.
From February 20-23, the 2nd annual Art Fair Philippines will also run at The Link carpark in Makati, featuring works by Filipino and foreign artists.
Installations can also be found in various spaces of Makati City through the Urban Art Project to bring art closer to Filipinos. – Rappler.com
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