The homecoming of Elmer Borlongan

Carol RH Malasig

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Get to know painter Elmer Borlongan as he talks about his life and his personal, artistic journey through the years

MANILA, Philippines – When it comes to portraying the everyday lives of ordinary Filipinos through art, Elmer Borlongan is top of mind.

His ability to depict survival and endurance on his canvas against a striking backdrop of poverty and despair, has given him his own niche in the Philippine art scene.

At one point, he took a position as an editorial cartoonist at a news magazine, but Elmer knew that painting was his passion and that he wanted to do it full time.

These days, he is focused on creating more art, and lives by his favorite quote from Vincent Van Gogh: “Not a day without a line.”

His work has been recognized by various organizations, the Cultural Center of the Philippines among them, making him one of their 13 Artists Awardees in 1992. Elmer’s paintings have also been featured in several countries abroad. But at the end of the day, it is the quiet life he looks for with his wife Plet, also an artist. They moved from the city to live in Zambales a few years back where the air is fresh, the surroundings are quiet, and there’s much variety when it comes to subjects for art.

Twenty years worth of Elmer’s works are currently displayed at the Ayala Museum for his exhibit In City and Country.

From the scenes in his work, Elmer portrays the daily struggle of the average Filipino – “My paintings are firsthand. I paint things that I see everyday.”

He says that this exhibit is sort of a homecoming for him after his life-changing encounter with National Artist Victorio Edades in the same museum during his early years as an artist.

Get to know Elmer as he talks about his life and his personal, artistic journey through the years.

Reporter: Carol Ramoran
Associate Producer:  Dindin Reyes
Cameraman: Adrian Portugal
Video Editor:  Emerald Hidalgo 

Shot at the Ayala Museum


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