By Hannah Jo Uy
Images by Pinggot Zulueta
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“A visual conversation between two artists from different generations, and their symbiotic interactions on both ideas and design.” This was how Janos Delacruz described his recent collaboration with his father, distinguished artist Fil Delacruz, in view of their recent show “Dialogue” at Artes Orientes. “For me, it’s not a verbal dialogue between two individuals,” added Fil. “But an indirect communication between our own creative inspirations. It is not a conversation in the literal sense. It has a much deeper and more philosophical meaning in our art and its relationship to life. The conversations we encounter are not only with each other, but it transcends to our individual muses.”
The last time the duo came together was six years ago in a two-man art exhibition held in Sining Makiling, UP Los Baños, and the Philippine Center in New York. Later, however, both decided to pursue individual projects owing to their diverging interests and the younger Delacruz’s eagerness to explore the boundaries of his own artistic identity. “Dialogue” offers an engaging visual narrative that chronicles the artistic evolution of father and son. The title of the exhibition was, in fact, derived from an oil-on-canvas collaboration between the two.
“We wanted each artwork to tell a story about our journey as artists,” Fil said. “Each artwork represents a facet of our personality and our passions. I find it challenging and invigorating to try to complement each other’s aesthetic while maintaining our voice in our individual artworks.”
“The relationship between us is a blessing and a continuous learning experience,” Janos added. Prior to the exhibition, he said, they would exchange ideas between painting sessions. “Although I share his values and beliefs, we have opposing reactions and views on various issues,” Janos said. “Maybe it’s because of our differing lifestyles? Upbringing? Generational attitude? It keeps the art creation more interesting when you have someone you can ‘bounce an idea with.’”
The collection showcases their perspectives on a diverse spectrum of themes. “Like any conversation, we never stuck to one particular topic,” said Janos. A discussion between two individuals especially if they’re family or lovers or close friends is usually raw, unadulterated, and unrestrained. It ranges in personal, spiritual, political or even the mundane.”
Weighing in, Fil spoke about his piece, Diwata: Babaylan, which he said was inspired by the shamans/healers in our pre-Hispanic history and women’s connection to the natural world “The artwork is a reflection of my muses,” he said. “And my ongoing fascination with the multi-faceted layers of a woman. For me, they represent my goddesses, nymphs, diwata, and other masked images. All my artworks examine the constant evolution of their role in our society and their unique link to the divine.”
While Fil continues to explore new avenues of creation, elevating indigenous symbols and showcasing his connection with the natural, Janos delves into philosophical narratives on the conflicts between the ethereal beauty of the divine and the frail reality of man. “My continuously evolving muse is the urban landscape and its rich surreal imagery,” he said.
In Pangarap na Sandali, Janos offers an ode to unrequited love. “Every love affair that ends has multiple versions of the same story,” he said. “It talks about the healing power of self-reflection of man as he grasps the changing world around him.” Opting for subdued colors to reflect a black/white view, Janos said that it is “in isolation that we find not only ourselves but a deeper understanding of our spiritual strength.”
Fil said that the exhibition “is part of an overall story we continue to forge in Bahay sining.” Elaborating on their individual approach, he added that he often separates the conceptualization period from the act of painting. “Usually it is done in isolation,” he said. “In this case we started our conceptualization by communication to determine the direction of the show. By the time we started the process of creation we were already forming our own ideas but, by sharing the same studio, we were able to visualize each other’s artwork. We rarely had a spoken word with one another but we communicated through seeing both of our artworks in progress.”
Janos added, “We saw each other’s process and creation. We never interfered with one another’s design but we complemented one another by virtue of being able to communicate our vision in our work.” The decision to collaborate on one painting, which soon became the centerpiece of the show, Janos said, was an invigorating exercise where their differing aesthetics were able to complement each other.
“It came together seamlessly because it presented both sides of the same coin,” Janos said. “It showcased the duality of human nature as well as our penchant to be both dark and light. That beauty is always complemented by the grotesque. That both our muses represent the mask/facades, the layered representation of our dreams transferred into canvas.”
“Dialogue” is on display until July 6 at ArtesOrientes, 2nd Level, The Shops at Serendra, Bonifacio Global City