(L-R) Jayson Cortez's Home Under the Same Sky; Elmer Borlongan's Hilot; Rodel Tapaya's Mr. Wolf

These contemporary Filipino artists will be showcased in Pinto International’s show in Italy

Milan’s cultural organization MAC will host the works of the most exciting names in Philippine art today. The show, Living Earth, exemplifies the shared vein by which Filipino and Italian artistry draw from.
ANCX Staff | Apr 29 2019

“Mountains that hug the earth, skies that are open, and clouds that float”—these are the words that Philippine Art Gallery owner Lyd Arguilla used to describe the watercolors of Leon Pacunayen. After moving to the Italian city of Perugia in the 1960s, the artist could be very well be the underappreciated thread by which contemporary Filipino art is connected today. Pacunayen’s moody, atmospheric approach to painting, and his somber palette adopts the technical lineage of sfumato and chiaroscuro is widespread in the creations of many modern artists. 


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Pacunayen is the jumping point in Living Earth: Contemporary Philippine Art, Pintô International’s upcoming exhibit in Italy. The show, which features 25 contemporary Filipino artists, bridges the intertwined histories of the Philippines and Italia. Working with themes revolving homeland, migration, and identity, the exhibition will be on view from May 6 to 12 at Milan’s cultural organization MAC.

Among its many highlights is Mother (1999) by Mark Justiniani, who is currently representing the Philippines at the Venice Biennale. Hazy, yet phosphorescent, Justiniani’s painting imagines a dream-like space not unlike Pacunayen’s. This example of Justiniani's early work is echoed by the pieces of Elmer Borlongan and Emmanuel Garibay. These artists initiated the movement of social-realism in the late 1980s, after the fall of the Marcos regime. Their work is juxtaposed against paintings by Manuel Ocampo, the 2017 Venice Biennale rep and one of the most critically acclaimed Filipino artists internationally as well as Rodal Tapaya, whose works emphasize a sense of transformation and transportation through magical realism. Ateneo Art Award recipient Johanna Helmuth’s figurative scenes are arresting depictions of everyday life while Jayson Oliveria pioneers a gestural approach that purposefully eschews perfection. These artists, along with the others included in the exhibition, create a cross-generational dialogue.

The exhibition is co-curated by Luca Beatrice, curator of the 2009 Italian Pavilion of the Biennale di Venezia, and Patrick D. Flores, artistic director for the forthcoming 2019 Singapore Biennale. He also curated the 2015 Philippine Pavilion of the Biennale di Venezia.

Click on this slideshow to view the works being given the spotlight in Milan:

Leon Pacunayen’s Anaheim III 

Leon Pacunayen’sPaesaggio del Lazio 

Leon Pacunayen’s Palm Spring II 

Elmer Borlongan’s Hilot 

Manuel Ocampo’s A Filipino Artist in Italy circa 1985 

Rodel Tapaya’s Mr. Wolf 

Raffy Napay’s Living Here 2 

Jigger Cruz 

Andres Barrioquinto’s The Death of a Disco Dancer 

Emmanuel Garibay’s Lakbay 

Johanna Helmuth’s Whatever it Takes

Ronson Culibrina’s Rainbow Spill 2 

Jayson Oliveria’s The Reverse is Also True 

Dexter Sy’s East and West 

Winner Jumalon’s Sueno 

Zean Cabangis’s I Don’t Think I’ll be Here Too Long II 

Mark Andy Garcia’s The Wind Blows 

John Marin’s Children by the Ocean 1 

Dale Erispe’s Haze 

Igan D’Bayan’s Exquisite Toxins

Jayson Cortez’s Home Under the Same Sky

Jim Orencio’s Arboretum’s Foliage of Philippine Native Plants 

Lee Paje’s Converging Paths, Diverging Ways 

Renz Baluyot’s Dreaming of Odyssey 2 

Keb Cerda’s First Date 2 

Gabi Nazareno’s Unending Undulation 

Olan Ventura’s Middle Ground 2 

Mark Justiniani’s Nanay 


For more information, visit pintoart.org.