The latest exhibit entitled Complicated by Lopez Museum showcases how conflicted our lives are as Filipinos, though we many not have that awareness of it. At least this is what was impressed upon me after the exclusive preview of the exhibit. This is not my first time to visit the Lopez Museum, but this is the first time that I felt the artists were effective in reaching out and communicating their message. The imagery were strong that it was imprinted on my periphery even today, 8 days after seeing what Lopez Museum has to offer.
Featuring the works of Mike Adrao, Ea Torrado and Leslie de Chavez along with the art of Juan Luna, Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo, among others, Complicated presented by the Lopez Museum tackles the knotted relationship of the Philippines with the countries that colonized us in the past. Indeed we are no longer under any country’s rule and the Philippines is considered one of the free. But are we really free? Leslie de Chavez tries to help in answering the question by showcasing arts in many forms. His video installation featuring an advertisement of Coca-Cola in 1955 declaring how the beverage company is able to help the country is a good introduction. While to this day, the company is still very much involved in its CSR effort in community building, it can’t be denied that America was the one who brought Coke in the country. Since then, we’ve been drinking this soda and is the leading softdrink brand nationwide despite the presence of of a local soda brand. The artist also pointed out how the US pop culture influenced our preference in entertainment, even our way of thinking. With de Chavez’s mixed media installation entitled “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You,” features 5 figures of the King of Pop Michael Jackson inside the basin holding a hose. When switched on, water would flow through the hose and splash over the images’ face and all over the body. Undeniably, we are obsessed with the western pop culture to the point that our own identity as Filipinos are drowned to almost nothing. I’m not saying that foreign culture is a bad thing. In fact, this influence produced our very own artists and even resulted to the country being considered one of the best entertainers in the world. But then again, can’t we do that with our very own identity as Filipinos? Maybe, maybe not. I know, it’s complicated.
Mike Adrao displays a set of complex art pieces drawn with charcoal on paper entitled “Colony” – a play of words which refers to the countries that has taken over us in the past and the group of insects. Adrao’s work are intricately drawn insects with patterns that were researched from the Lopez Library collection. The artist’s attempt to point out the mesh of our culture and those who colonized us resulted in an intriguing work of art that I would love to explore further. It requires much contemplation that cannot be accomplished by just one look as I’m sure I will find realizations on every occasion that I view it.
Probably one the most breathtaking in this exhibit is Ea Torrado’s video installation entitled Sisa. The title alone has strong connotation to the past, particularly with Jose Rizal and the Spanish era. Torrado, a choreographer and dancer, took on Sisa’s search for her missing children and brought it to the present, relating to issues on extrajudicial killings. This work of art is in itself started with a somewhat complicated process. The artists shared that the dance was made without music, a challenge to the usual norm that every dance movement is accompanied by a melody. After the choreography was done, it was only then that the “music” was created. The result was an awesome performance that left me holding my breath, awed and thinking… thinking about the victims of the injustices, of extrajudicial killings, the families of the victims and the people who initiated such killings. Can the country live with all the killings behind? Will the issues remain unresolved? Should we all just shut up and let things go? It is complicated.
Visit the exhibit Complicated by Lopez Museum to fully comprehend the conflict in Filipino’s life. The conflict may seem trivial for some, but they are definitely worth considering. Because only then can we understand how to deal with a life that’s complicated. Learn and appreciate the works of Mike Adrao, Leslie de Chavez and Ea Torrado until August 2. Get to know them better during the scheduled artist talk. Visit the Lopez Museum website for additional details. There’s more to be seen and appreciate at the Lopez Museum exhibit. Check out the rest of the photos on The City Roamer Facebook Page.