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The Scene The New Art Exhibit at the MET Manila Explores Themes of Poverty and Resilience

The New Art Exhibit at the MET Manila Explores Themes of Poverty and Resilience

The New Art Exhibit at the MET Manila Explores Themes of Poverty and Resilience
By Ryanne Co
February 13, 2020
Brenda Fajardo's musings on the aesthetics of poverty give birth to a hopeful yet raw portrayal of what life is like for millions in the Philippines

Poverty has long been a problem in the Philippines, its consequences rippling through geographical and social boundaries. This month, nine Filipino creators bring about their experience with poverty through each of their best known platforms: their art. 

Photo: Courtesy of MET Manila
Photo: Courtesy of MET Manila

This February, the Metropolitan Museum of Manila (MET), with the support of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and Congresswoman Loren Legarda, brings poverty to the forefront of its art. With its latest exhibition, “Cue from Life Itself: Filipino Artists Transform the Everyday”, MET Manila brings forward works from contemporary artists such as Poklong Anading, Yason Banal, and Alma Quinto. 

There is always a fine line to be tiptoed upon when art and poverty intermingle. It's important not to romanticise poverty or to take away the validity of the hardship it brings. Therefore, the medium of such art has to be authentic, as Brenda Fajardo herself believes. The exhibition does not aim to frame poverty for the inquisitive eyes of curators and art aficionados, rather it aims to transform every day objects into something with social value, something that will give people a sharper understanding of the quality of life that comes with poverty.

Photo: Courtesy of MET Manila
Photo: Courtesy of MET Manila

Nine Filipino artists – Brenda Fajardo, Poklong Anading, Kristoffer Ardeña, Yason Banal, Alma Quinto, Jose Tence Ruiz, Lirio Salvador, and Mark Salvatus -- come together to explore such themes with the MET. 

Photo: Courtesy of MET Manila
Photo: Courtesy of MET Manila

Jose Tence Ruiz has created a mixed media art piece that depicts a cathedral as it emerges from a kariton. Titled “Paradiso/Metro Magenta”, it shows the fervent faith of Filipino consciousness, as well as hope that emerges from every day life. 

Photo: Courtesy of MET Manila
Photo: Courtesy of MET Manila

Mark Salvatus’ “C_rafts” creation is a commentary on Filipino crisis management, the adeptness of Filipinos in creating a life for themselves despite the rain – both literally and figuratively. Inspired by the aftermath of Ondoy, rafts on display show camaraderie and resourcefulness despite the flood. 

Photo: Courtesy of MET Manila
Photo: Courtesy of MET Manila

Lirio Salvador has created modern sculptures and instruments (guitars, etc) through the use of industrial materials such as bicycle gears, stainless steel pipes, spoons, and bowls. Titled “Sandata”, these pieces have appropriated every day “junk items” into something that (quite literally) sings. 


The above mentioned are just a few of those on exhibit at the MET every Monday through Saturday from February 7, 2020 to May 7, 2020. Admission to the MET is free every Tuesday for art lovers looking for a dose of culture. 

Read Also: The Italian Artistic Landscape Of The 60s and 70s On Spotlight At The Met Museum

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