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Sunday, October 24, 2021

Kisame: Vision of Heaven on Earth

AS I LOOK up at the ceiling paintings, several thoughts crossed my mind about the beautiful paintings photographed above me. There’s always a strange feeling, a mix of expectations, recognition and, in some cases, an experience one had never imagined.

It is fascinating to see how the lives of Christ, the Virgin Mary, and the saints have inspired artists for centuries. It is amazing to see these artists visualize them. It is like stepping into a real museum where sacred art is exhibited. You can stare at these paintings for a long time without getting bored.

Ayala Museum, the Filipino Heritage Festival, and Abreeza Mall present “KISAME: Visions of Heaven on Earth, “An Exhibition of Photographs of Ceiling Paintings from Churches in the Province of Bohol,” which already started last March 5 and slated to run until March 31 at the Abreeza Mall’s ground floor expansion wing.

“KISAME: Visions of Heaven on Earth” showcases the Filipino’s artistic heritage in the context of ecclesiastical art.

Featuring installations of large format photographs and video documentation of architectural paintings selected from 17 churches in Bohol, the exhibition is an up-close view of images that represent visions of heaven on earth.

It also features the historical background of each painting and the church to which it belongs in a somewhat Visita Iglesia Bohol presentation in photographs.

The photographs featured in this exhibition were taken by Honorable Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa, Jr., from the ceiling paintings of the churches in Bohol in the dioceses of Tagbilaran and Talibon in April 17 to 21, 2008.

These selected works of art that adorn the parish churches are the remaining works of two pioneering Cebuano artists, Raymundo Francia and Canuto Avila, who were executed during the first half of the 20th century.

The exhibition’s curators are Fr. Milan Ted Torralba and Kenneth Esguerra. Fr. Milan Ted Torralba was the Assistant Secretary at the Apostolic Nunciature (Vatican Embassy) in Manila and the present Vice President of External Affairs of the Visayan Association of Museums and Galleries, the Executive Secretary of the Permanent Committee for the Cultural Heritage of the Church, Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, and the Corporate Secretary of the Bohol Heritage Development Foundation.

Meanwhile, Kenneth Esguerra is presently the Senior Curator and Head of Conservation of Ayala Museum, and has over two decades of working experience in museums both in the Philippines and abroad.

He was the Director for Exhibitions and concurrent Chief Registrar of the Metropolitan Museum of Manila (1988-2001), has taught Curatorship and Collections Management under the Philippine Arts Program of the University of the Philippines-Manila (1998-2003), and was the managing director of the Balay Taliambong: The Cojuangco Museum and Art Center (2001-2003).

“KISAME: Visions of Heaven on Earth” was first presented as part of the 2008 National Heritage Month celebration organized annually by the Filipino Heritage Festival. It was first exhibited at the ground floor Gallery of Ayala Museum from May 27 to July 20, 2008.

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