Saturday, September 27, 2014

Articles of Disagreements: Contemporary Arts Through a Mom's Eyes

This torrent of anecdotes began, maneuvering around the dimly-lit, cold pathways of The Lopez Museum, that alley where black walls were jazzed up with glossy black-and-white prints, which sink into the insulation.  

Though I was inspecting these two-toned photos, flashes of skinned and sharpened "krayolas" easily snatched my vision.

My daughter, Danielle, fondly called by her friends as Danie, her chosen pseudonym, would always first to pick up the blue crayon and with her tiny, candle-like fingers drew stick people on our newly-painted semi-glossed white wall.  With a grin, showing off cavite-stricken front tooth, she told me "Look, Mommy, I draw you sweeping the floor and me and Brownie (her pet dog) scattering shreds of paper on the floor." Let me not tell you how I looked like or even felt like upon seeing it on the cleanest part of the house, rather let me tell you how proud I was seeing her eyes lit up with enough exuberance, realizing she was able to draw a story.  Even though the bushes on the broom was prettier than how she had drawn my hair, I gave her a smile and said "Wow, ang galing naman ng baby ko magdrawing," (Wow, you did good drawing).

It wasn't the last time I caught her drawing something on the wall, but I made sure I was armed with enough cleaning aids to wipe them clean and asked her to do it on papers.  She did learn eventually, making her drawings better and better each day, until a year after, she isn't making stick people anymore but fancy faces with chubby, pinkie cheeks.  She was five years old then.

Until such a time that she would ran out of pad papers and notebooks to draw to.  While she grew fonder, developing artful skills of her own which happened to depict how she personify's herself.

Early high school drawings
I never knew that she would still be drawing people up until now, she is by the way taking up Fine Arts Major in Painting at PWU.

Above is her first ever painting project, only I was able to capture it in it's unfinished form.


Here are some of her ball point pen artworks

As Ms. Ethel Villanueva, was making her welcoming address at the launch of Articles of Disagreement, an exhibition, last September 18, I was trying to multi-task my brain by listening at her while more artsy stories from my husband's family echoes on my mind.  Thank God it didn't resulted in a splitting headeache, hahaha, get it?

I love, love artworks, in evidently all forms, antiquated and fresh, for the reason that a person meant for skill, reborn with a passion to create what they interpret as art.  I doubt that I can pass a bachelor's degree in fine arts, but I can, as strongly willed as I could, manage to pull up something which can also be considered as art.  After all, isn't beauty in the eye of the beholder?  

The Lopez Memorial Museum and Library is at the ground floor, of Benpres Building, in Pasig City. Museum days and hours are Mondays to Saturdays, except holidays, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.  Upon entering the lobby of the building, a door to your right opens and gives you a peep through of what could be in store for the art-lover in you.

The first chamber, the Reading Lab, is such a welcome sight with the coffee aroma wafting around, where Cafe of Letters, another event of the museum, is said to happen.  It is where artists and collaborators, even guests can join in a discussion about written contributions that will zoom in on the generation of narratives that make up the body of texts of Philippine art history, art criticism, and broad art writing.  Yes, letters, comic strips and other written narratives are forms of art as well.

Pressed for time, I wasn't able to see in details the collection but I was impressed by the decoupaged table, something like a take-away for a DIY'er domestic diva in me.

To put into perspective, Articles of Disagreement deals with art forms in writing and anecdotes of criticism in Philippine art history.  Well curated by Sidd Perez and Lian Ladia of the alternative contemporary art platform ‘Planting Rice’ Philippine art history was given a little showcasing.

There started, new discoveries, or rather an awakening.  

Here is a blown up photo probably in late 70's to early 80's era when artists needed to voice out their rights not only fighting for freedom to express but to represent a growing number of silenced artists.

Nena Saguil's work entitled Sun-I (1968), from oil in canvas.

 There is something in this photo that needed more than comprehension, perhaps it is a revelry to get into the minds and hearts of the artists who photographed this.

Where ordinary boxes affixed in such a pattern, the architect in you might go crazy doing the measuring.  What seemed to look like random light fix ins just made the art  pop up.  

Something to love artist more are their cunning usage of worthless, garbaged materials into a masterpiece, thus, this pile of old, wrecked shoes and shoe-related items.   

Pockets of dark rooms are strategically positioned across the museum where ludicrous films are shown, light experiments including picture reflection from regular household devices such as UV lights and clock will also be conducted and described by the featured artists.  Yes, you call them weird and they get even weirder but in a very productive yet amusing way.

Featured artists include the collective of young filmmakers Tito and Tita.  

I'm sure meeting the featured artists would be nice, how about listening to them, interacting and reach out to the soul where passion and loads of it just spruce up? 

I believe each art work tells an inspiring story. 

One such installation commissioned by a German museum is Germany-based artist Maria Cruz.  The story was depicted over a documentary movie of Maria's work done in a public seating space inside a museum in Germany, that specific place became her office as she tried to share a social issue where young adults are involved to anyone and get financial support for her to come up with an art.

Born out of a specific pool of major texts found in the Lopez Library archives and focuses on the reflexive practices of contemporary artists, as diverse occupations in the Arts are explored to unburden itself from established institutional forms. 

As you enter farther into the museum, another room will make you realize that art can be developed even in your daily lives, even in one's revolting OC'ness. 

These are notes, not entries to a diary, but notes in numbers, measurements, time intervals and referring quotes.  If I were his mom, I could have mistaken it for my list of debts, and if not labeled and I was not informed, it have ended up in the trash.  So I was in total amazement, as well as most of the friends in the media who were with us.

This guy is the 2013 Ateneo Art Awardee, Buen Calubayan.  His painstaking structured timeline and the journal of his daily routine as a government worker at the National Museum was made into art, the exhibit is named “Race Laps."

The predominant task of going to and fro the office from home and vice versa became boring and cumbersome for Buen.  Getting from point  A (his home) to point B (his work) took different routing and sighting, thus the routine won his interest and since then he had recorded his daily commuting and put into writing everything including 

Moving on...

On to the gleaming room at the end, where the library is, are these whimsy and vintage photos of Jose Rizal with his friends, colleagues and  family members, taken in amusing ways, you never realized could have existed.

Below every photos are blank boards where you can write anything as if you caption the photo.

The exhibition revolve around the archives of the library, along with the museum’s collection of works by Raymundo Albano, Fernando Zobel, Nena Saguil, Roberto Chabet and more.  Also, it includes the ever present masters Juan Luna and Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo.  

The Articles of Disagreements exhibition will run until December 20, 2014.

My favorite painting of Juan Luna.

There ends my afternoon art rendezvous...Though my hands and hearts could have not level with, not even an inch, to these worthy heroes, my hopes and dreams stay ablaze for my daughter.  It was such a joy hearing out these featured artists, knowing and believing that my daughter too can walk on the path they have walked.

I can't wait to bring all my four kids here and get them all inspired and have them gain more pride in being a Filipino.


The Lopez Museum and Library is at the ground floor, Benpres Building, Exchange Road corner Meralco Avenue, Pasig City. 

A minimum cost of  P 100 and P 80 for students with ID's will be asked as an entrance fee and access to all library amenities, including free coffee.  

Museum days and hours are Mondays to Saturdays, except holidays, 8am to 5pm. For inquiries, call Tina Modrigo at 631-2417.


  1. Hi Joy,

    Thanks for the inspiring blog, when I was little I also wanted to be a painter. I hope your daughter hosts her own exhibit soon and don't forget to invite me! :)


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