Midterm Project (1T AY 2016 -2017)

Last October 14, I visited the Metropolitan Museum in Roxas Boulevard, Manila with my friends. We got to see a lot beautiful and interesting art forms. The museum had two art exhibitions present at the time, namely the “Configuring Print” presenting the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas print collection and “The Philippine Contemporary: Scaling the Past and the Present.”

Shin, Shinji Yanagisawa, Jen Cardasto (me), Kyle Enrique, Keenan Brown, Nixie Diaz, Frances Abutin, Aina Mesina

The first collection of art forms we viewed was the “Configuring Print,” from which some artworks caught my eyes.

“Witnesses” by Florencia Mota

“Witnesses” by Florencia Mota depicts a group of women with their eyes wide open, as if observing something keenly and carefully. From my perspective, the painting is trying to convey the tendency of women to be very observant about the things happening around. In turn, they, at times, become gossipers who would talk about the smallest issues about other people’s lives surrounding them.

“Saranggola” by Orlando Castillo

“Saranggola” by Orlando Castillo shows children playing with their kites while enjoying themselves. This presents to us the idea of letting loose and not stressing too much about the things brought upon by life to us all the time. It reminds us that there are a lot of things that can be sources of fun even simple things like a kite, a child’s toy.

“Mariveles” by Fernando Zobel

“Mariveles” by Fernando Zobel presents an abstract image of the moon above some waves. The overall mood given by the print is gloomy and dark. In my opinion, the waves symbolize the different problems or struggles a person go through in life, while the moon represent certain people or events that guide a them to make it through and succeed in their endeavors. Since the two mentioned elements of the artwork were illuminated while the rest were dark in the print, it tells us that man’s problems serve as the center of their lives most times because they focus on solving them and having prosperity and progress.

“Tindera ng isda” by Jess Flores

“Tindera ng isda” by Jess Flores exhibits a woman selling various types of fishes and a cat, under the table where the fishes lay, eating one of the fallen fishes on the floor. I think that the woman symbolize people being protective of the things they own since she was holding one of the fishes as if there are people who might steal them and that even with the abundance of blessings and resources someone has, they still haven’t learned the value of sharing or being generous. As a result, symbolized the cat eating the fallen fish, there are a lot of unfortunate people not being able to afford the means to satisfy their needs, so they eat off of what’s left of the resources of the capable and rich.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has its own art collection, which showcases various aspects of our culture and traditions. It allows the deeper appreciation of the things that represent our identity, things like our livelihood (“Tindera ng isda” by Jess Flores), the types of houses that shelter our home (“Tahanan” by Manuel Baldemor), the beauty of the places in our country (“Mariveles” by Fernando Zobel), and the various characteristics and attitude Filipinos have (“Witnesses” by Florencia Mota and “Saranggola” by Orlando Castillo). With the Bangko Sentral being a major government agency, it can be said that it is one influential, if not powerful, establishment, so it only makes sense that through them having their own art collection, the spotlight is directly pointed at these artworks that greatly present our own culture.

On the other hand, “The Philippine Contemporary: Scaling the Past and the Present” was the second and final exhibit we saw, where it showcased works owned by private collectors and famous national artists, which is why no pictures can be provided since picture taking was not allowed.

“Carnivores on Session Road” by Santiago Bose was one of the interesting paintings there. It presented different foreign restaurants in the streets of our country. This shows our tendency to center our lives on the western culture because more often than not people would choose foreign brands in things like restaurants and brands over our local products. This would entail that there is still the need to have a stronger sense of nationalism in each one of us through putting our very own first above others.

Untitled (Man with knife) by Jose “Jojo” Legaspi shows a man stabbing himself in the head with a frowning and problematic face. It presents the thought of thinking too much about the things going on in your life and just wanting to literally stab your head in order to end the noise caused by it inside your head. Troubles and failures are the most probable causes of this in a person’s life.

“Cover of Pilipino Comics” by Francisco Coching shows a Filipino hero with head of wanted criminal as a cover page of a local comics in our country. The idea conveyed by this art form for me is the importance of heroism and doing what is just and right in order to prevent the further evil caused by the ones who see no other way of living than through oppressing others with their crimes and incapability to be fair with their actions.

“Sulong, labanan ang mga uring mapang-api” by Orlando Castillo depicts a group of people staying and hiding behind their nipa hut homes as if scared of being attacked and invaded by a stronger force, but despite being scared they still didn’t abandon each other. This speaks out the message that Filipinos use their darkest times, times of conflicts, as a way of showing their unitedness and ability to always be there for each other, and this serves as one of the admirable qualities they have.

“Silent Type” by Kiko Escora focuses on a big skull with hints of blue and black as the background. In my opinion, the artwork looked really cool and edgy because of the way the elements where arranged and placed on the canvas. It also points out that through a person, represented by the skull, has different personalities and individual characteristics hidden behind their exterior, which emphasizes the idea of getting to know a person first before judging them with regards to the way they act and speak.

(from left to right) Frances Abutin, Jen Cardasto, Aina Mesina, Nixie Diaz

As a whole, viewing different art forms in the Metropolitan Museum was such a nice and impacting experience. Although, if it is compared to the National Museum, the art forms in the Met Museum are more modern and fewer, whereas for the other museum, the artworks there focused more on old pieces of art mostly about the country’s history. The works found in the Met museum also used more varied mediums than the usual paint on paper, which was what most art forms in the National Museum were made of. In terms of the audience visiting with us at the time, they were mostly students like us and most of them were actually our blockmates.

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