Manuel Rodriguez SrOn May 6, the art world mourned the demise of Manuel Rodriguez Sr., the “Father of Philippine Printmaking.” The news came in from Florida where “Mang Maning” spent the last years of his life.
Being called the “father” of printmaking speaks more of Mang Maning’s penchant for teaching and mentoring the younger-generation artists who, like him, underscored the eminence of printmaking or graphic arts as a legitimate form and platform for artistic consciousness and appreciation.
Although the Lopez Museum does not have a Rodriguez in its permanent collection, the relationship between the artist and the institution was perhaps cemented in 1988 through the efforts of the then board of trustees of Eugenio Lopez Foundation Inc.
An August 1988 article in The Manila Chronicle reveals that Mang Maning had a monthlong exhibition at the then Lopez Museum Gallery. Titled Prints and Paintings on Paper, it featured 27 works—all prints—that he made in New York, where he had been based since 1975.
Several references on Mang Maning are available to the public through the Lopez Library, including Beatrice Harding’s “Survival Through Art” and Lenore RS Lim Foundation for the Arts’ “Manuel Rodriguez, Sr.: Into the Threshold” featuring essays by friends and students such as Imelda Cajipe Endaya and Eva Florentino.
In the latter, one of his protégés, Pandy Aviado, wrote: “Mang Maning is the role model of someone who listened to his vocation…for many artists whose souls he has touched, he is a legendary hero.” Through his students and his works, Mang Maning lives on.(Story/Photos by:Thea Garing and Yna Musico)
At the opening of Rodriguez’s exhibit at the Lopez Museum Gallery. In photo are (l-r) Dr. Genevieve Huang, Mrs. Rodriguez (the artist’s spouse), Elvira Reyes, Margot Fragante, Zeny Cipriano and Lynn Erba