Torres’ Thought-Provoking Exhibit opens for National Heroes’ Week.
In this much anticipated exhibition titled “The Hero in Our Time” at Galerie Raphael, 2nd level, UP Town Center (this August 27 – September 7, 2022) that opens in time for this year’s National Heroes Day, artist Juanito Torres presents several new major works that tackles the concept of heroism. His works clearly underscore the high praise we accords our heroes. Aside from that, they also posit the question: What should heroism mean in our time? One can only answer this by revisiting the heroes of our past as we search for the heroes of our present and our future.
“In this age of massive disinformation and orchestrated behavior, where historical truth can run a far second to customized perception, we may need the likes and the forthrightness of a Juanito Torres to remind us of where true heroism resides: in each of us, as ordinary citizens struggling to do the right thing in a society that demand our submission to power, however wrongful.” – Jose Dalisay
Torres’ recent works start with a major work that appears humorous but is quite serious, pointed, and thought-provoking. In “Nakamit na nga ba ang Kalayaan?” the two camps that either sought reforms or drastic revolution are shown together with the nascent flag of the early Philippine Republic. The conquistadores and colonialistas are there too, but so are other symbols like Nemo, symbolizing an idea that indeed like the proverbial marine character, freedom still needs to be found.
A second major artwork puts together those that took a different, more drastic route to freedom. “Mga Bayani ng Rebolusyon” depicts Andres Bonifacio, Macario Sakay, Emilio Jacinto, and the brave Filipinos that took up arms against the oppressive colonial powers.
In discussing the new heroes of our time, Torres presents the youth as his choice for those that will take the cudgels. There is an artwork of “Little Heroes (Back to School)” facing the ongoing threat still poised by the silent and daunting menace that is the Covid pandemic. Another artwork is “Little Heroes (Ituloy ang Laban)” cosplaying the route taken by Antonio Luna and the Katipuneros.
Our current society continues to be faced with ever-developing and newer threats. There is the continuing threat of the pandemic, climate change, economic difficulties brought about by the world conflict, increasing authoritarianism all over the world, and the aggressive behavior of countries with a disproportionate amount of power and military might.
Torres’ exhibit leads his public to the inevitable conclusion that we are indeed the heroes of our time.
As Dalisay astutely observes, “Even as we see St. Michael battling the dragon, we are St. Michael.” The only thing is “who and what is the dragon of our time?” But just like our heroes of yesteryear, the Filipinos of today shall prevail.