From the original local name of the island comes the inspired title of the show “Kolor Sugbu,” now on view at the Makati Shangri-la Manila, organized by Hiraya Gallery. It is in effect an exhibition of the vaunted Cebuano artists’ superb mastery of technique but now inflected with a more contemporary temper, a more direct contact with the times, to be sure, but without ungratefully turning its back on its heritage, hewn from the teachings of the late Cebuano master Martino Abellana, himself mentored by National Artist Fernando Amorsolo at the then UP School of Fine Arts.
Pure, unsullied innocence, at work and at play, in moments of glee and delight, are Audie Estrellada’s depictions of children in After the Rain and Cornhusking, affirmed by his superlative handling of light and surface.
A day’s labor as a classic subject matter of conservative art is celebrated in Dong Tallo’s Morning Catch, Mariano Vidal’s Harvest, and Efren Enolva’s Panginabuhian (Hanapbuhay). Steeped in the customary subject, Tallo, Vidal, and Enolva views these familiar scenes always as a re-discovery, a freshening in every canvas, investing their works with the intensity of a lifetime’s looking.
Feeding Time by Ariel Caratao is a brisk, bristling radiance of light on the feathers of hungrily gawking geese, and the two young innocents agape at the wonder of these fowls.
“Kolor Sugbu” is a visual declaration that, in Cebuano art, there are many more shades of colors, more hues of happiness, than meets our jaded eyes.—Cid Reyes, art critic
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