Kristo Manila: Merging art and religion

By Caroline J. Howard, ANC

Posted at Apr 05 2012 09:56 AM | Updated as of Apr 05 2012 05:56 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Every year since 2005, Filipino artists have been mounting a Lenten art exhibit centered on the many faces of Jesus Christ.

Art enthusiast Delan Robillos collaborated with artist Salvador Ching for “Kristo Manila,” a Manila version of the Ching’s “Kristo Malolos.”

“This is devotion for the artists and the collectors as well,” said Robillos, who is also the managing director of The Artery Manila, on [email protected]

“God has a divine way of communicating with us. Because we’re not divine, we have to find a human way of communicating with Him.”

This year, The Artery Manila and Gallery Nine are mounting “So Be It,” a Kristo Manila exhibit at the Art Center of SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City.

The exhibit, which will run until April 8, features religion-themed works of over a hundred participating artists.

“As Filipinos, we use everlasting flowers to show our devotion for religious icons. Just like the everlasting flower, I feel that our faith must be everlasting,” said one of the artists, Cathy Lasam, who painted “Paninindigan.”

Lasam, who is now on her second year with Kristo Manila, believes that the exhibit is more than just artistic expression.

“As an artist, you’re not usually aware of what God has given you. And every year, this exhibit allows us to refocus on what God has blessed us with, which is why more and more artists are getting into it. They want to say ‘thank you,’” she said.

Robillos is overwhelmed that Kristo Manila has grown to over a hundred artists from only 40 last year.

He also noted the “diversity of the artworks” featured in the exhibit, from rubber cut paintings to glow-in-the-dark masterpieces.

“We have a Filipino artist based in London, two from Singapore, and we got an e-mail from an American artist doing religious iconography and he wanted to join,” Robillos noted.

He added that aside from paintings, this year’s Kristo Manila will also feature photography, digital art and sculpture.

But more than just pieces of art, Robillos said the exhibit provides an alternative venue for personal reflection in observance of the Holy Week.

“I saw people, walk-in clients going around the exhibit and treating it like a museum. But at the same time, a spiritual experience,” he said.

“So Be It: The 2012 Kristo Manila Exhibit” will run until April 8 at the Art Center of SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City. For more information, call (02) 910-8016 or 788-2112.