Where art thou?




When asked to pick my top five choices from León Gallery’s The Magnificent September Auction happening on Sept. 9, I found myself literally stumped because I am no art expert, just an eager afficionado whose only claim to a “collection” is an HR Ocampo “Mother and Child,” from my own mother.
Going through the 308-page catalog,  I realized that León Gallery’s Director Jaime Ponce de Leon was right about one thing. Art is not just for the keen-eyed and established connoisseurs.  It is also for the adventurous, the amateur enthusiast and the lover of all things Filipino.

Anita Magsaysay-Ho’s Laughter tops my list. The piece was exhibited in 1957 and will soon (after 66 years!) find a new and worthy owner. Next is Carlos “Botong” Francisco’s The Boy of Angono which used to be owned by Juan Marcos Arellano, the architect who designed the Metropolitan Theater and the Philippine Senate. HR Ocampo’s Dilemma, from the Kit and Fenny Tatad collection is unlike most of his works that have been recently exhibited.  Fernando Amorsolo’s Pista ng Nayon is huge (I heard that a 30x40-inch work is hard to come by) and very striking is its imagery. And there’s Victor Oteyza’s Plastic Engineering Series from 1953 from the Don J. Antonio Araneta collection.

Experts say that there is an art to bidding in an auction but one particular truth stands out.  Trust is key. León Gallery is fortunate to be the home to works of art exhibited from times gone by, from homes rich with untold memories, bringing us to a place where history is told and interpreted through the hands of masters who celebrated being Filipino through their creative genius.

From a curious and perhaps naïve point of view, there is something inexplicably serendipitous about looking at a piece of work that is decades old yet as current and relevant as though it was created just weeks and months ago.  Magsaysay Ho’s Laughter for one, is all about the “marites” of today.  Ocampo’s Dilemma looks like something that you would normally see in an edgy avant-garde magazine.  Oteyza’s Plastic Engineering Series will look right at home in a hip and creative workplace (or a bike shop, budget permitting). 

There are almost 200 works of art – paintings, sculptures, rare fabrics and antique furniture up for grabs.  Given León’s reputation of breaking world records, don’t be surprised if we see jaw dropping numbers on screen when the auctioneer shouts sold!

Off court

Victory at last!  The Philippines’ 96-75 win over China is proof that indeed, good things come to those who wait. I say this as a tribute to the tens of thousands of GILAS Pilipinas fans who braved the rains to watch game after game, undeterred by the string of disappointing losses. Something must be said about the resiliency of the Filipino, whether playing in court or cheering amid a hopeful yet dejected crowd.  Giving up is a phrase so alien to us, even when faced with the most rabid bashers online and in court. I salute the GILAS Pilipinas team, for refusing to let the losses bury their morale completely.  Without a doubt, it hurt the players witnessing their coach get booed by our own kababayans, but it is what it is.  A fitting farewell game for Chot Reyes.
GILAS’ victory over China assures the Philippines of a spot in the 2024 Olympic Qualifying Tournament and I will be keeping my fingers crossed that we, the ever so optimistic fans, would see “better,” whether it be in coaching, strategy, synergy or actual playing.  Many of us may just be armchair analysts in the eyes of the pros, but there is no doubt that our fervor will be hard to beat. 
Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!


Off the beat

Sharing a mix I did last Aug. 27, 2021 using digital music.  A mix of classic tunes!

Playlist: 1. Various – Mamma Mia!; 2. Wild Cherry – Play That Funky Music; 3. KC & The Sunshine Band – That’s The Way; 4. ABBA – Dancing Queen; 5. Thompson Twins – Hold Me Now; 6. Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On?; 7. Toto – Africa; 8. Diana Ross – Upside Down; 9. Frankie Valli – Grease; 10. Belle Sisters – IkoIko. 

Click the link to listen to the mix: https://www.mixcloud.com/goyolarrazabal/music-with-a-heart-210827/