Rodel Tapaya’s Portraits of Dieties, Functional Art from Broke, and Froilan Calayag’s Critters

Rodel Tapaya, "Melu", acrylic on canvas and glass mirror, 49.5x 39.5 inches

When Rodel Tapaya first burst into the scene some six or seven years ago, he did a series of portraits of people in the neighborhood, a group of works he christened Pintados.  Using burlap sacks as his ground, he embellished the visages of such characters as the town gossip, the mayor, and the village slacker with patterns taken from the tattooed natives of Pre-Hispanic Philippines. Continue reading

The Thirteen Artists Awards 2012

Leeroy New's interventions on the CCP's main staircase

I decided to come early this time around, and felt amply rewarded for my efforts.  There is much to recommend the 2012 Thirteen Artists Awards exhibit, and I wanted the opportunity to savor it on my own pace. Continue reading

ArtHK 2012 Diary: Day 2, Pinoy Power

Jose John Santos III, "Clockwise", detail

While briefing  the press right before officially opening the doors to ArtHK 12, Magnus Renfrew, fair director, announced that beginning next year, Art Basel officially takes over the Hong Kong art fair. Henceforth, it shall be known as Art Basel Hong Kong, the third fair in the franchise after the original Art Basel (the one that actually takes place in Basel) and Art Basel Miami Beach. Continue reading

On Rodel Tapaya’s APB Signature Art Prize Win

Rodel Tapaya, "Baston Ni Kabunian, Bilang Pero Di Mabilang"

Most of us know by now that Rodel Tapaya won the Grand Prize of the Asia Pacific Breweries Foundation Signature Art Prize, one of the richest prizes in the region, a triennial event organized by the Singapore Art Museum.  Undoubtedly, this counts as one of Philippine art’s highlights for 2011 as Rodel’s work was chosen from an initial list of over 130 nominees from across Asia Pacific, later pared down to 15 finalists by an international panel of judges.  He exhibited the majestic Baston Ni Kabunian, Bilang Pero Di Mabilang at the UP Vargas Museum one year ago, part of Bulaklak Ng Dila, his most ambitious, compelling solo show to date. Continue reading

Do You Believe In Rodel Tapaya?

Rodel Tapaya, "Kagat Daliri", detail

Rodel Tapaya mounts an exhibit of paintings in a style he knows best, what art writer Professor  Alice Guillermo labels in her essay, The Hauntings of Rodel Tapaya, as cultural surrealism.  He continues to mine our Filipino folk traditions for narratives that he can translate onto his canvases.  This time, he casts his eye on superstitious beliefs, adages passed down from those wives of yore, practices that still come alive in parts of the country untouched by urban jadedness. Continue reading

Ateneo Art Awards 2011: Anatomy of Autonomy

I look forward to the Ateneo Art Awards every year.  I believe that it does a credible job of recognizing the best works by young visual artists.  I do not always agree with their

Bembol dela Cruz and Kawayan de Guia

selections, and I do have an issue with the awards’ age limit.  But overall, I still find it relevant and prestigious, a worthy acknowledgement of efforts undertaken in the past twelve months.  All the chatter that rolls in along with the announcement of winners just adds to the fun!  Yes we get names that appear every year— but doesn’t that just prove that those who always make it to the shortlist consistently do great work?   A key component to the judging process requires artists to recreate an exhibit for the benefit of the panel of jurors.  Yes, this imposes an onerous burden on the artists, one that the galleries must pitch in for. Having exhibits properly documented certainly helps.  But it does prove difficult to capture an exhibit’s original flavor, despite the galleries’— and the artists’—best efforts. Perhaps, this should be addressed.

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Rodel Tapaya’s Florid Tales at the Vargas Museum

Rodel Tapaya, "Baston ni Kabunian Bilang pero hindi Mabilang", acrylic on canvas, 10ft x 20 ft

The Jorge B. Vargas Museum in the University of the Philippines’ Diliman campus ends the year (and begins the next) by playing host to an exhibit by contemporary artist Rodel TapayaContinue reading

Rodel Tapaya and Marina Cruz Keep It Simple

Rodel Tapaya and Marina Cruz

In Simple Depictions, which opened this week at the Alliance Francaise de Manille’s Total Gallery, Rodel Tapaya and Marina Cruz both exhibit small paintings.  All of Rodel’s works, save for one piece, are acrylic on paper pieces.  He  continues with his series of landscapes and vignettes of everyday life from around their Bulacan home. Continue reading

The 2010 Ateneo Art Awards

Just like everybody else in the audience, I eagerly awaited the announcement of winners for this year’s Ateneo Art Awards.  The

Shattering States: The Ateneo Art Awards 2010 Winners: Pow Martinez, Leslie de Chavez, and Mark Salvatus

Ateneo Art Gallery staff kept the final results under tight guard, even to us jurors.  Thankfully, they paced this year’s awards night programme so that none of us had long to wait. Continue reading

Of Skulls and Butterflies: ARTHK 10

Damien Hirst, "Transcience Painting"


Skulls and butterflies may as well have been the  mantra of ARTHK 10, this year’s edition of the Hong Kong Art Fair. You saw them everywhere, most notably those of the Damien Hirst variety. Continue reading