An exposé on existence

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Monday, August 25, 2014

BATTLE BETWEEN GOOD AND EVIL. “Spiritual Wisdom” by Richard Bolotaolo, an intricate oil-based tribal imagery.


THE exhibit was daringly titled “Existence”—a word, straightforward as it is, that carries an encompassing definition behind it. As member artist, Ivan Macarambon, explained, the show sought to shed light on human experiences: the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of it.

“It’s broad,” he admitted, “But being artists, we localize and apply it to our personal experiences. Each of us has our own story to tell about existing in this part of the world.”

The exhibit was a visual narration of how they perceive existence, of what they believe makes human, human. Though tackling different topics, there was apparent dualism present in all artworks: creation and destruction, innocence and corruption, humility and arrogance, among others. For them, there subsists a duality in existence, and that focusing on a sole aspect would be a farce.

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The participating artists are Melissa Abugaa, Nick Aca, Archie Balcos, Richard Bolotaolo, Tzaddi Esguerra, Farrah Estabaya, Chris Gomez, Ivan Macarambon, Nonilo Ramoso and Maila Secuban, who are members of the Tinta Artists Group of Iligan City and Memento of Cagayan de Oro City. “Existence” is their first joint group exhibition in Cebu, and it was mounted in the Qube Gallery from Aug. 4 to 18.

Bolotaolo presented a tribal-inspired oil-based masterpiece that talks about the unending fight between good and evil. Altubar stirred emotions in his subtle black and white illustration of innocence and corruption. In a two-piece series, Gomez narrated the contrast between humility and arrogance, using a Cagayanon word for it, kapayason. Ramoso discussed the duplicity of intentions in an abstraction, and Aca whose work was the only wood art in the collection, pits urban imagery to nature’s material.

Ivan shared that since the two groups’ formation—Tinta in 2005 and Memento in 2013—they have stirred a growing appreciation for visual and performance art in their own localities, as they regularly hold exhibitions there. “We also share our passion to new artists, and we mentor and give direction to them,” he added.

At the exhibit’s opening night, one of the highlights was the chilling and captivating act done by Nick and Ivan, depicting the coexistence of creation and destruction, of birth and death. Complemented by the sound art and poetry of Zola Macrambon, the act was meant to be an accompanying piece to Ivan’s artwork, yet it likewise encapsulated the essence of duality that resonated in the entire collection.

Though the collection was heavily inspired by experiences in “their part of the world” as they had defined, it also possessed themes that are universal—just as heartfelt and true for anyone, even those who are cities away from where the artists are from.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 26, 2014.

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