Art Exhibit: Figura Filipina

February 25 – March 5. When you don’t have time to go to art exhibits, the art exhibits go to you.

Distinct art styles showcased by three figurative artists of the Philippines: MananQuil, Santiago and Miranda

I was surprised to find a small open exhibit in the activity area of Robinsons Galleria a few days ago. The paintings were focused on showcasing Filipino women in various contexts. Three artists were featured: Romi MananQuil, Nemi Miranda and August Santiago.

The thematic focus on Filipino women is very timely. We are celebrating International Women’s month, the passage of the extended maternity leave bill, and the progression of the Anti-Discrimination Bill. In the same breath, we are still fighting for equal and rational basic human rights. 

I wrote a short poetic reinterpretation on the struggles of Filipinos and women few days ago. 

“Figura Filipina”, an Art Exhibition for the benefit of the Art Association of Malabon

Many of the paintings were painted very recently (i.e. signed 2017). What’s great about the pieces of art is that they highlight the unique merits of each artist’s style. I also had a bit of time to review the exhibit itself.

I do regret not being able to properly label my photos with the title of the works. Miranda’s work in the first photo, for example, had a title that alluded to “The First Sin” or something similar. The title and other external elements like framing really do affect one’s interpretation of the work. Maybe you’ll catch this exhibit near you some time and you’ll be able to fully experience the art yourself.

Acrylic paintings by Nemi Miranda

Miranda’s works were characterized by bright and bold colors. They remind me of modern graphic novels and story books. They appear like snapshots taken mid-action.

Among the three, this style is probably my favourite. I especially like the flow of the clouds and other background elements, as well as the fantastical theme surrounding all pieces.

Acrylic paintings by August Santiago

The acrylic scenes painted by Santiago show impressionist strokes, particularly in the background. The colors are more muted. The narratives appear like character profiles; they seem more posed and less dynamic.

The themes remind me of Amorsolo’s works on rural portraits.

An oil painting by Romi MananQuil

I wasn’t able to capture more photos by MananQuil. But most of his oil paintaings show a similar mood which suggests a particular social narrative.

I’m quite annoyed because the painting featured above reminds me of a very specific painting. It’s on the tip of my tongue.

My only concern in terms of presentation of his works was that they literally pale in comparison to the acrylic paintings of the other two artists. It might be an issue of varnishing.

Sculpture by the Art Association of Malabon

There were also gold-plated Filipino-themed sculptures with the plaque “Art Association of Malabon”. Without further details, I am assuming it was made by the assocation.

They were beautiful, though not particularly striking. The compositions were fluid and not designed to be 3D accurate or smooth.

Sculpture by the Art Association of Malabon

Two things that could have been improved with respect to this exhibit:

  1. The presentation design. The poster for the event was acceptable (though font use and layout could have definitely been improved) but there was a lot to be desired when it came to the descriptive posts about the artists. I didn’t take a picture, but there were little posters set around detailing the biography of MananQuil, Santiago and Miranda. The horrible font, kerning, layout and overall appearance traumatised me. It undermined their achievements in art and art education.
  2. The clarity of purpose. The poster says it’s for the benefit of the Art Association of Malabon, but I was at a loss as to how I could have contributed to their benefit. Was the benefit intangible (i.e. for publicity)? Probably not. I couldn’t find the box that says ‘donate money here’ or the sign that says ‘bid here’.

But overall I really liked being exposed to these three local artists (and the Art Association of Malabon as a whole). I especially appreciated how accessible this exhibit was. Several people were walking through it at the same time as I did.

I wish there were exhibits like this every week. To more local art! #LoveLocal

xx This has been a scheduled post! xx


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