History and Culture
UP Fine Arts Prof’s exhibit muses on Filipino mores in times of impropriety
Choose Philippines | Oct 31, 2018
Blueprint (acrylic on canvas, 63in X 43in, M.Malto)
Malay natin (acrylic on canvas, 63in X 43in, M. Malto II)
“This is not us.” Perplexed with the seemingly new norms in our midst, artist and University of the Philippines Fine Arts professor Marco Ruben T. Malto II presents his solo exhibit, “Kahimanawari,” and offers a timely contribution to vital discourses on Filipino virtues.
Malto contemplates our country in chaos with our people divided. He sees some of his fellow Filipinos take a stand as others choose to remain silent, and resilient. He finds the apathy toward the nation’s growing disconnect from what is right and good alarming: it defies the very heart of what makes us truly Filipinos. Be it apathy or Filipino resiliency, Malto maintains now is not the time to stand back and be silent.
We wade through life’s adversities armed with faith-- in our spirituality, in ourselves, in our chosen leaders, in the daily game shows, in the Ultra Lotto, or in the “Unli” promos for texts, calls and social media. When things fall apart, we dare to dream the impossible and sigh kahimanawari. In the old days, Filipinos would express kahimanawari whenever they would wish for fate to favor them. Thinking that by simply saying so, kahimanawari would reverse the course of the universe and make things happen according to their hearts’ desires. An archaic Filipino word, kahimanawari or “kahit man lang kung maaari” speaks of the unwavering Filipino faith in the darkest of times.
Malto acknowledges and draws on the wealth of the material culture reflected through images of Philippine history and current events. By appropriating and referencing familiar images based on history, current events and popular culture, the artist is able to cohere theory and imagery through his works. In capturing the interplay between current national issues and the nuances of Filipino mores, Malto’s “Kahimanawari” provides the public a platform for information and reflection on some of the country’s most crucial concerns.
About the Artist
Marco Ruben T. Malto II (b. 1972, Manila) is a graduate of the University of the Philippines Diliman College of Fine Arts (UPCFA), completing his Bachelor of Fine Arts Major in Painting in 1993, and his Master of Fine Arts, also at UPCFA, in 2002. Malto has been teaching at UPCFA-Department of Studio Arts since 2002.
For years, the artworks featured in the artist’s solo exhibitions (i.e. Bayang Magiting, 2013; Siete Estaciones, 2014; Ang Petroglyphs ng Angono, 2015; Susmaryosep!; 2016; Peksman!; 2017) embodied themes capturing the country’s critical issues and how they interplay with history and the nuances of Filipino characteristics, values and traditions. The artist’s immense interest in Philippine history and culture has led him to persistently feature historical and cultural information in his exhibits in relation to thematic beliefs and practices that are distinctly Filipino. Commenting on the socio-political conditions of the present, while remembering history and incorporating cultural aspects in his artworks is the artist’s way of bridging the past with the present. In so doing, the artist aspires to educate and engage his public in important national discourses, while promoting a better appreciation of the Filipinos as a people.
Malto is a recipient of the UP Diliman Centennial Professorial Chair Award for the past five years for his solo exhibitions: Colors of Black (2013); Bayang Magiting (2014); Siete Estaciones (2015); Ang Petroglyphs ng Angono (2016); and Susmaryosep (2017).
“Kahimanawari” opens on Sunday, 18 November 2018 4pm-7pm at Sining Kamalig Art Gallery, Upper Ground Floor, Ali Mall, Araneta Center, Quezon City. The exhibit runs until 7 December 2018. Gallery hours are from 10am to 7pm, daily.