Chances are you’ve been to a lot of exhibits of contemporary arts by contemporary artists, but when was the last time you appreciated the more antiquated stuff?
Leon Gallery’s newest exhibit, Filipinos in the Gilded Age, aims to teach millennials on the works of old Filipino masters using artwork that have been serendipitously and/or painstakingly discovered in Europe and brought back home. Commissioned by European patrons, pieces made by maestros such as Juan Luna, Felix Hidalgo, and Fabian de la Rosa, among others, are on display. The works in the exhibit, labeled as “repatriated,” are pieces recovered in Europe through the efforts (and luck) of determined local collectors.
The exhibit is also meant to lament—or at least, wonder—where the appreciation for the works of this period have gone. Nationalist feelings have since fought back and tried to “write off” the influences our colonizers have left us, leading to what the gallery believes is a rejection of these commissions. On that note, they also mean to teach the younger generation what this art was like.
“Taste is not automatically passed on at birth,” said Ramon Villegas, one of the curators of Leon Gallery and this exhibit. “The next generation has to be taught how to be couth and cultured.” Despite how unintentionally condescending that might sound, there’s nothing wrong with taking on an appreciation of what’s come before.
Filipinos in the Gilded Age is running until July 20 at Leon Gallery, at the ground floor of the Corinthian Plaza, 120 Paseo de Roxas, Legaspi Village, Makati. If you’re interested in dropping by, you can do so from Monday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. It’s best to call ahead at 856-2781 so that a curator can be present to show you the exhibit.
Images from Philippine Daily Inquirer and Leon Gallery