The French word meaning goodbye or farewell, “adieu” encapsulates all the feelings a Filipino experiences at the moment of separation. More significantly, “Adieu” imparts the message of God’s blessing at one’s departure, more easily understood in our country’s more familiar “Adios”!
The show is a dream come true for Monnar, who like the many painters that comprised the School of Paris, such as Picasso, Miro, Mondrian, and Kandinsky, came from various countries to live and create in the City of Artists.
This Filipino artist is no exception, having prepared an intriguing suite of works that delve on a consistently topical theme: the migration of Filipino laborers, commonly known as the OFW or “Overseas Filipino Workers.”
Observant of his countrymen’s plight in the face of unemployment in his own country, Monnar brings something unique to his theme, aside from the aesthetic sense.
Bringing to bear on his theme the insights of a sociologist, psychologist, anthropologist, and philosopher, Monnar reflects on such issues as separation anxiety, homesickness, deracination, culture shock, long-distance relationship, the dysfunctional family left behind, the state of the country’s economy, materialism, aspirations for a better life, dreams and fears of the future, and the very realistic lure of temptations borne by loneliness abroad. From such a rich synthesis of sentiments and tribulations emerge a new vision and identity of the OFWs as worthy of being called “Mga Bagong Bayani.”
Monnar invests his works with his own brand of humor and wit, mirth and sense of positivity, capturing the Filipino’s emotional resilience and endurance. His works are foregrounded by the Filipino’s fabled easy laughter in the face of adversity, overcoming self-pity and despair, despondency and disillusionment.
Composition-wise, Monnar weaves into his paintings interlacing narratives which the viewer is challenged to tease out of the mélange of symbolic and surreal details.
The artist ingeniously deploys them in his designs, building up into a seamless continuum with no beginning or end. These are works with a ceaseless movement, where the various strands of meaning finally converge in the viewer’s mind, inducing a heightened appreciation of the pictorial intelligence which Monnar imparts on his introspective reflections on the Filipino overseas worker.
Monnar honed his particular linear style from years of experience as a cartoonist and comic strip illustrator with various national publications, even as he was carving a name for himself as an art and design director. A graduate of the University of the East School of Fine Arts, majoring in advertising, Monnar was destined not only to transcend the lowly origin of his craft but to draw from its potential wealth a visual wellspring of socially astute and sympathetic views of Philippine reality that is now the substance and essence of Monnar’s art.
Words by Cid Reyes | The Artologist Gallery is at 81 Xavier St.., Xavier Residences, Unit 203, Greenhills, San Juan, Metro Manila. For inquiries, call tel: 02-6340100. Mobile: 0917-8403585. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.