Ross Capili depicts renewed hope through floating metal spheres

Published March 9, 2021, 2:27 PM

by S.C. Fojas

Unveiling the promised land

It was 3 a.m. on the Dec. 24, hours before Christmas in 2020, when Ross Capili’s ancestral home in Tondo, Manila was reduced to ashes. Relatives and memories were lost, some were injured, and most were saved, including a 3ft x 3 ft painting made in the ’90s.

Ross Capili

Slowly but surely, their family coped with the tragedy while battling the pandemic, and this became the inspiration in Capili’s exhibit, “Veiled Earth,” in partnership with Galerie Anna. 

One of his early works recovered from the ashes of his family’s ancestral houses

“The year 2020 seemed like a nightmare: the Covid-19 pandemic, Taal volcano eruption, typhoons and flooding, the passing away of friends and loved ones. My solo exhibit in Galerie Anna on March 6 challenges me to rise above all these tragedies,” says Capili. 

From his childhood years in Tondo, Capili’s life has always been a metamorphosis, an inner transformation revealed in every painting he shares to the world. During the first three months of quarantine, he created a series of imagined landscape works, “Be Still” and “Heaven on Earth” because for him, there is no other way but to trust God in this pandemic. Now, in his “Veiled Earth,” he shows that everything will be beautiful again in time. The exhibit includes the rescued painting from their house in Tondo, along with 18 masterpieces.

“‘Veiled Earth’ is a covering, a mask in place to seal a place. A landscape or seascape preparing to be revealed in due time. In this time of pandemic, people and places have veils for protection. The entire earth is still veiled waiting to be appreciated again soon, with hope,” he says.

Using metal spheres, Capili took his interest in sunsets and moonrise up a notch in his 18 abstract paintings. His Red Moon Rising, where a red metal sphere rising from black abstract strokes symbolizes the moon, is Capili’s survivor story and everyone else’s, the message being we will all rise from the ashes at dawn renewed with hope. 

“I am fascinated with sunset and moonrise in all my landscape abstract paintings from my past shows. This time, I am introducing a new medium, in which I added a floating metal sphere to suggest sun, moon, planet earth, or even a bubble. This year 2021 is a year of reckoning after 2020 brought lots of devastation to the world and to my family. Bubble because we can only trust God as each of us live in a bubble in these uncertain times,” he intimates. 

While the Earth is still covered in face masks (and face shields), one of Ross Capili’s works might provide that spark of hope we need to see something bright in the future.

Capili admits that his abstract strokes were greatly influenced by his admired artists like Paul Jenkins, National Artist Jerry Elizalde, Glenn Bautista, and Impy Pilapil. But his masterpieces will always have a “Ross Capili touch” in them, through which his struggles in life serve as an imprint as much as his excellence and craftsmanship. 

“I improvise a lot. I can use whatever art materials are available. In a way, I felt that I doubly worked and thought hard during this pandemic, treating each day if it were my last day on Earth,” he says. 

Tranquil Horizon I

And though it is weird to hold an exhibit when social gatherings are discouraged, we must admit that art is always a breath of fresh air for those viewing, making, and experiencing it. While the Earth is still covered in face masks (and face shields), one of Ross Capili’s works might provide that spark of hope we need to see something bright in the future.

“With Covid-19, with all the ugliness, with the lack of good news all around the globe, it is art that will lift us,” ends Capili.

“Veiled Earth” will run from March 4 to 16 at Galerie Anna, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City.