By Sara Grace C. Fojas
Images by Camille Ante, Manny Llanes, and Noel Pabalate
Video by Christian Carl Quides, Jan Lo Inocentes and John Alvin Veri
It was a great night for Philippine art! Visual artists, photographers, and art enthusiasts from every corner of the metro gathered at the Fiesta Pavilion of The Manila Hotel to witness the launch of the second volume of the Filipino Artists in Their Studios. The book is a compilation of 75 portraits of Filipino artists in their work place by the Manila Bulletin photographer and artist Pinggot Zulueta, accompanied by the artists stories—their lives, their struggles and victories, and their passion for art.
“The making of this book has been an extraordinary journey—from the first edition to this second volume—it has been a tremendous collective effort,” says Pinggot during his speech. “The book Filipino Artists in Their Studios features a selection of artists who spoke about themselves, as no one else could. And they have done so, with modesty, humor, and wit. They have spoken about their attitudes to art, their techniques, and the art scene of the times. Although what really matters is their work, it is equally wonderful to listen to their words about the challenges and celebrations leading to their illustrious careers.”
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THE ‘ARTIST AT WORK’
The 324-page book, published by the Manila Bulletin Publishing Corporation, started from the newspaper, in a full-page feature every Monday in the Arts and Culture section of Manila Bulletin Lifestyle. Since 2008, Pinggot and the writers of the section, supervised by editors Isabel de Leon and AA Patawaran, hopped from one artist’s studio to another to interview the artists and share their stories in the newspaper. Now, as a tribute to these artists, two books were created, both designed by Eloisa Bernabe.
“On the one hand, the book presents different views. Artists always seem to have the most accurate perception of what is going on around them. An artist’s existence can be self-referential, and the risk of disappearing into one’s secluded space can be real. By telling their stories and sharing their experiences through the book, the featured artists have made a thoughtful contribution to our country’s art history,” says Pinggot.
Artists featured in the second volume are Ambie Abaño, Leo Abaya, Mike Adrao, Salvador Joel Alonday, Angelito Antonio and Norma Belleza, Agnes Arellano, Julio Jose Austria, Max Balatbat, Jinggoy Buensuceso, Zean Cabangis, Benjie Torrado-Cabrera, Ferdinand Cacnio, Valeria Cavestany, Leslie de Chavez, Dansoy Coquillla, Chati Coronel, Jigger Cruz, Marina Cruz, Bembol Dela Cruz, Daniel Dela Cruz, Janos Delacruz, Melvin Culaba, Olivia D’Aboville, Thomas Daquiaog, Antipas Delotavo, Isabel Diaz, Romina Diaz, RM De Leon, Vincent De Pio, Neil Doloricon, Noell El Farol, Kiko Escora, Love Marie O. Escudero, Isobel Francisco, and Peque Gallaga.
Included also are Mark Andy Garcia, Nona Garcia, Proceso Gelladuga II, Jaime De Guzman, Gregory Halili, Mia Herbosa, Riel Hilario, Martin Honasan, Pete Jimenez, Bree Jonson, Winner Jumalon, Aileen Lanuza, Romeo Lee, Jojo Legaspi, Lenore RS Lim, Lindslee, Luis Lorenzana, Neil Manalo, Dengcoy Miel, Fernando Modesto, Jason Montinola, Jason Moss, Leeroy New, Jonathan Olazo, Vincent Padilla, Sam Penaso, Christina Quisimbing-Ramillo, Alwin Reamillo, Alfredo Roces, Ivan Roxas, Marivic Rufino, Don Salubayba, Mona Santos, Pamela Yan-Santos, Maxine Syjuco, Ian Veneracion, Olan Ventura, Lin Vinluan, Orley Ypon, and Phyllis Zaballero.
The stories were written by AA Patawaran, Barbara Mae Dacanay, Hannah Jo Uy, Jacky Lynne Oiga, Angelo Garcia, Bryan Angelo Garcia, Sara Grace C. Fojas, Eugene Santos, Pam Brooke Casin, Nickky Faustine De Guzman, and Johnina Martha Marfa.
“The book gives a profound sense of purpose for the artists and those involved in its making, as it was created especially for the young and future generations, so they may come to know the Filipino artists. Beyond their paintings and art works, by knowing the Filipino artists up close, it is our hope that the young and future generations may appreciate Filipino art even more or be inspired to become artists themselves. Therefore, the book represents our ‘lived’ experience, encompassing current and future generations of artists and those who appreciate art,” says Pinggot.