Art+ Magazine accommodated its first batch of senior high students who spent a week at the office to be exposed to the workings of the magazine. Our interns Andrea Neri and Carlene Lee share their experience from their art immersion trip.
Text and photos by Andrea Neri and Carlene Lee
The first Museum we visited was the National Museum which is known for being an educational, scientific and cultural institution that acquires, documents, preserves, exhibits, and fosters scholarly study and public appreciation of works of art, specimens, and cultural and historical artifacts representative of our unique to the cultural heritage of the Filipino people and the natural history of the Philippines. Most of the paintings that are found in the National Museum go way back from the 18th and 19th century.
The first painting we saw was one of the country’s most well-known paintings, the Spoliarium by Juan Luna Y Novicio. We were both delighted and astonished to see it personally since it’s really different when you just see it in pictures. That’s the amazing thing about art, you stare at a painting and all you could think of is the history and meaning behind it. It’s a trip down memory lane. It allows us to learn about what happened in the early years of the country. Seeing the Spoliarium was one of the highlights of our Art Immersion Trip since we were really eager to see that painting. After all, what’s the point of going to the National Museum if we don’t get a glimpse of one of the most recognized paintings in the country?
We continued to tour around the premise and we came across beautiful artworks such as Mike Aquinos’ “Confetti Rhythm”, Juan Luna’s “Souvenir de 1899” and Carlos Francisco’s major masterpiece which is the mural entitled “Filipino Struggles through History“. It encapsulates the history of Manila from the first great Rajahs of Tondo, the Spanish colonial period, Balagtas, Rizal and the Revolution of 1896, up to the American colonial period. Francisco incorporated several historical happenings in his mural. We were amazed by how Francisco was able to fuse several historical happenings in his mural. We were also surprised with the size of his mural since that was the first time we personally saw it.
The second museum we toured was the Metropolitan Museum of Manila. The ‘Met’ is a world-class gallery tracing the evolution of Filipino art from the early 20th century to the present. Virtually all great Filipino painters from the last century are represented, while the selection of contemporary and experimental art is second to none in the Philippines. The ground floor was Elmer Borlongan’s exhibit entitled “An Extraordinary Eye for the Ordinary”, while the Philippine Contemporary is on the 2nd floor.
Elmer Borlongan’s “An Extraordinary Eye for the Ordinary” artworks are truly impeccable. We were amazed by how his works truly show social realism. It’s mostly about what Filipinos go through. He paints in such a way that you feel the emotions in the eyes of the person or people in his works. According to the website of Metropolitan Museum of Manila, Borlongan drew his early imagery from the backstreets of Nueve de Febrero in Mandaluyong, his coming of age, in life and art, formed by the political upheavals that saw the beginning of the Marcos dictatorship in 1972 and its end in 1986. From EDSA I, II, and III to Duterte, Borlongan brought his art from urban to rural and back to the urban such that he returned to the place where he started but saw it anew, like the first time producing past, present and future merged seamlessly in his works.
The exhibit on the second floor is called “The Philippine Contemporary: To scale the past and the possible”. Based on the website, the objective of the exhibit is to integrate a heightened focus on modern and contemporary art by Philippine and foreign artists. The artworks in the exhibit were modern and creative. We were intrigued by how the artists were so creative with their artworks. We saw a bubble machine and a sandbox that had footprints on it and we realized that art is really about how you do it and how you interpret it. Ms. Aglipay told us that she was at an Art Auction in Hong Kong and there was a canvas painted in yellow and it was sold for millions of Hong Kong dollars. What makes art art is your creativity and not the opinion of others. Art wasn’t designed to always be beautiful and pleasing to the eyes.
The trip was beyond amazing and it didn’t even feel like a requirement because we both enjoyed it. We were able to broaden our knowledge more because of this trip and we also discovered a lot of things about ourselves. We have never been more inclined to the field of arts. Thank you to Ms. Aglipay for teaching us things that we can never learn within the four walls of our classroom. We will forever be grateful for this learning experience.
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