8 Negrense artists in Makati exhibition 

Guenivere Decena, ‘Fair Seas, Fair Maiden,’ 2023, resin tiles, print on canvas, silk cloth (Contributed photo)
Guenivere Decena, ‘Fair Seas, Fair Maiden,’ 2023, resin tiles, print on canvas, silk cloth (Contributed photo)

SALCEDO Private View presents Spotlighting the Sugilanon, where eight artists from Negros Occidental reflect on the province’s rich tradition of sugilanon, a Hiligaynon word for folktales or legends that embody the timeless themes and defining characteristics of the Negrense way of life.

“A story is never just a story,” says Georgina Luisa Jocson of Off Center Creative Initiatives in her curatorial statement for the exhibition. Stories reflect the worldview of the people who made them, inadvertently transmitting the “values, traditions, and conventions between generations of peoples and across societies.”

The tales these artists attempt to examine are tales of the old–folktales and legends that provide glimpses of a way of life from a bygone era and yet continue to define the culture of the present. Furthermore, these are stories of their childhood - Negrense folk stories that they are revisiting as adults and looking at with more intent. What are the cultural values that these stories reinforce? the traditions and conventions highlighted?

The exhibit draws the folktales of Negros Occidental from “Mga Sugilanon Sang Negros,” an anthology of folk literature of Negros Island, collected and translated by cultural-historian and National Book Awards recipient Ma. Cecilia Locsin-Nava, Ph.D. The artworks, therefore, represent the artists’ response to the written works selected from a deep trove of folk oral tradition - the layers of transmission and interpretation all the more adding to the nuanced view of the art.

The tales of Negros Occidental were re-read and re-examined by artists Raymond Legaspi, Darel Javier, Frelan “Pakz” Gonzaga, Daryl Feril, Guenivere Decena, Michael John “Mikiboy” Pama, Katarina Estrada, and Moreen Austria. Coming from varied multidisciplinary backgrounds, these artists reflect on the stories that not only defined Negrense culture, but also shaped their personal lives.

Folklores, legends, and myths are quintessential manifestations of a culture’s identity. These timeless tales, handed down from one generation to the next, serve as a rich repository of a society’s collective wisdom and belief systems. However, as the world around us changes and evolves, so do the values and beliefs that underpin some of these stories. Spotlighting the Sugilanon takes on this role to challenge and reinterpret these folk tales, while also capturing the essence of the Negrense soul and providing a sense of continuity and connection to a shared past.

Salcedo Private View’s ‘Spotlighting the Sugilanon’ is on view from March 29 to April 20, 2023 (daily except Sunday and Monday; Maundy Thursday - Black Saturday) at the main gallery of Salcedo Auctions, NEX Tower, 6786 Ayala Avenue, Makati City. (PR)


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