MANILA -- Foremost ecclesiastical artist Maestro Willy Layug has proven that his wood carving skills are not merely confined to conservative style of religious art as he opened his first nude exhibit, “Naked Truth,” at the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) gallery over the weekend.
Layug demonstrated his familiarity with the human form, in its bare essence, with exquisite examples in wood and marble, with one piece done with the famed carara marble from Italy.
Layug said that an artist should not be confined to a single style but rather strive to reinvent his craft. Layug had earlier studied marble carving in Italy, a complete turnaround from his use of the softer wood medium.
Art writer Laya Boquiren said that the works are from the artist’s lubas or nude series. “Not so much a depiction of the profane but a range of instantiations on the beauty of the human figure in a non-ecclesiastical context. The title also implies the idea of world disclosure, or the artist’s dynamic life world revealed in the work."
It could be remembered that Layug was tasked during the recent Papal Visit to create the images used in the various Papal Masses. Chief among these was the image of Our Lady of Hope that has now become the icon of the Yolanda disaster and has become a subject of devotion in Palo, Leyte.
Layug had donated the original image to the Archdiocese of Palo. The original image is seven feet tall, including the base of the Blessed Virgin Mary holding the Child Jesus. He now joins the elite rank of four other “Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice” Filipino awardees, which include musician and composer Ryan Cayabyab, noted liturgist and theologian Dom Anscar Chupungco, OSB, Jesuit composer and Cebu politician-writer Mariano Jesus Diosomito Cuenco and musician Rev. Fr. Eduardo Pardo Hontiveros.
The Kapampangan artist from Betis, Guagua is the first Filipino to up the first ever Filipiniana-inspired altar dedicated to Filipino Saint Lorenzo Ruiz and Blessed Pedro Calungsod at the prestigious Pontifico Collegio Filippino. He has done major retablos including that at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Nueva Ecija, the St. John Cathedral in Lingayen-Dagupan, San Sebastian Cathedral in Bacolod and Cathedral of the Immaculate Concepcion in Urdaneta, Pangasinan.
Layug, a presidential merit awardee for his outstanding achievement in Ecclesiastical Art, was also named Outstanding Guaguaeño for sculptor, Most Outstanding Kapampangan for ecclesiastical art and Best Actor in the 39th Metro Manila Film Festival for “Dukit,” an autobiography of his life as an artist.