Get to know the artists behind the portraits of PRRD and PBBM

Published July 6, 2022, 2:36 PM

by John Legaspi

Presidents on canvas

Not only is the Malacañang Palace home to the President of the Philippines, it is also a space full of great masterpieces. Among its prized collection are the portraits of the country’s leaders. What others may not know is that art has a role in a President’s journey. It can mark the beginning and the end of their leadership and that we saw as former President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (PRRD) passed the baton to the newly-elected President, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. (PBBM).

Portraits of PRRD and PBBM by Jun Impas and Lulu Coching Rodriguez, respectively (Photos from @junimpasvisualart/Instagram and Uniteam BBM-Sara/Facebook)

Immortalizing the PRRD’s legacy through a painting is visual artist Jun Impas. What he described as the fastest portrait he finished, the artwork was completed in roughly half a month.

“The Secretary of Malacañang called me one day and said that it’s for an urgent project. I was surprised to know that it was for PRRD and they needed it before he leaves Malacañang,” he told Manila Bulletin Lifestyle. “It was very exciting! I felt honored to be able to paint one of the best presidents in the Philippines.”

According to Jun, his process of creating portraits for clients usually involve him setting a photo shoot for them, as he is particular with the lighting quality of the image. But in creating PRRD’s portrait, the palace sent him a photo for the portrait as the outgoing leader was busy.

As for PRRD’s response, Jun shares that he was delighted with the finished artwork during the unveiling. “I was told that it will be displayed on the Malacanang halls for a lifetime with the other portraits of our previous presidents,” Jun added.

From one president to another, Uniteam BBM-Sara group also revealed a portrait that marked the beginning of PBBM’s journey as the President of the Philippines. According to Uniteam’s Facebook post, the painting was done by Lulu Coching Rodriguez. Daughter of Francisco Coching, National Artist for Visual Arts, Lulu also created portraits for former presidents Benigno Aquino III, Joseph Estrada, Fidel V. Ramos, and Cory Aquino.

PBBM officially became the 17th President of the Philippines after his inauguration last June 30 at the National Museum in Manila.