The Lopez Museum staff goes to Sanso Museum in San Juan during their annual educational tourCelebrating its 55th year, Lopez Museum and Library took 2015 as a great opportunity to revisit the Lopez collections and to emphasize the institution’s continued relevance as a Filipiniana resource and research hub.
An integral segment of the collection is the World War II propaganda and electionrelated archival materials. The first offering of the museum, together with its technology partner Samsung Philippines, was Propaganda, an exhibition that fleshed out the idea of mythmaking and its ability to inspire and ignite change in society. Works by Nunelucio Alvarado, Santiago Bose, Joey Cobcobo, Don Salubayba and Alvin Yapan conversed with those of Juan Luna, Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo, Jose Joya and Cesar Legaspi, among others. Two special library exhibits were also taken on by the curatorial team: Common Ground and National Artist Benedicto “BenCab” Cabrera’s Frames of Reference.
Through the initiative of the Institute of Maritime and Ocean Affairs, several institutions and universities hosted traveling exhibitions inspired by Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio’s lecture entitled “Historical Facts, Historical Lies and Historical Rights in the West Philippine Sea.” Carpio presented strong points countering China’s claims on the West Philippine Sea, which includes Scarborough Shoal and the Spratly Islands. For Common Ground, the museum made use of its antiquarian maps as prompts that showcase how Philippine territorial terrain has been represented and described in early history.
BenCab celebrated his 50 years of art practice with a series of multi-sited exhibitions and events copresented by Bencab Art Foundation and Sureste Properties Inc. A highlight of the Frames of Reference exhibit was three works from the museum collection, including the iconic Soldiers (Heroes of the Past IV).
Currently on show (until December 23), Open Ends features a collection of rarely seen studies, sketches and unfinished paintings by Hidalgo. Challenging the usual practice of exhibiting an artist’s best and finished works, the exhibition explores how value and meaning evolve by looking and experiencing art that are products of opportune moments, happy accidents and even (un)timely interruptions.
Ling Quisumbing Ramilo brought her works after seeing the Hidalgo pieces in the collection, in a seeming conversation with the Filipino master. Riel Hilario’s sculptures speak of the artist’s relationship with ideas, his chosen medium and even the process of dealing with traditions and canons. Toym Imao’s maquettes are not only intricately made but, more importantly, allow viewers to reflect on our rich history and the power of long-standing narratives and accounts in our idea of identity and nationalism.
Stitching together the rich visual arts collection and the vast library materials, the public programs situate the collection in the contemporary world of the 21st century.
A built-in component of the programming is the Artist Talks where guest artists were given the opportunity to have an intimate discussion of their works featured in the exhibitions. For Propaganda, Alvarado, Yapan and Cobcobo, with printmaker Pandy Aviado, made interesting presentations. Crowd drawers were Carpio’s special lecture on the Philippine claim on Scarborough Shoal, one of the features of the contested West Philippine Sea, and Dr. Ambeth Ocampo’s Rizal Without the Overcoat: The Lopez Collection of Rizaliana.
International and National Museums and Galleries Month celebrations also brought in art lovers into the gallery halls. Performances of Ateneo Blue Symphony and Orchestra of the Filipino Youth were great additions, bringing music into the picture.
The museum showcased a number of Filipino films in the Replay series, among them Veronica Velasco’s “Last Supper No. 3,” Yapan’s “Debosyon,” Jeffrey Jeturian’s “Ekstra” and Milo Sogueco’s “Mariquina.” Tradition and re-presentation met in Hilario and Dr. Esperanza Gatbonton’s lecture, Ukit: The Art of Santo-Making. In On Point, the museum teamed up with graphic designers and other museums to showcase arts and culture on the stage of social media and branding. Ateneo Art Gallery, Ayala Museum and The Public School took part in the forum and exchanged newer practices in the field.
The museum was filled with the smell of freshly baked bread and the narratives of a two-year journey in “The Panaderia Chronicles.” Jenny Orillos, along with Amy Uy and Kamuning Bakery’s Wilson Flores, discussed the library’s materials on food history and the richness of Filipino bread-making traditions.
The museum closes this year’s programming with optimism that with continued interest in creative production, research and scholarship, the institution will uncover possibilities for more exciting projects and across disciplines—continuing the legacy of its founder, Eugenio H. Lopez Sr.
Left-Right: Vargas, De. Ambeth Ocampo, Lopez Museum trustee Margot Fragante, Oscar M. Lopez and wife Connie Lopez
Lopez Group chairman Emeritus Oscar M. Lopez flanked by museum director Cedie Lopez Vargas and National Artist BenCab