By JULES VIVAS
Images by NOEL PABALETE
Art is everywhere, alive in our streets, woven in our words and actions. While it may be found all around us, not many recognize the people behind them. It is by familiarizing ourselves with their sacred workplaces that we see the workings of the brilliant minds of artists. That’s the idea behind Filipino Artists in their Studios, one of the country’s most important compendiums on Filipino art.
Created by artist and Manila Bulletin Lifestyle photographer Jose Zulueta, known as Pinggot among friends, the 324- page tome is a compilation of 75 portraits and narratives of some of the most illustrious artists in the Philippines. First released in 2015, the title has been a huge success that a sequel was launched last year. Its second volume takes readers on a deeply personal journey inside the atelier of great artists, the likes of Agnes Arellano, Antipas Delotavo, Nona Garcia, Romeo Lee, and Fernando Modesto, among others. It also includes some of the country’s top up-and-coming artists.
Edited by Isabel de Leon and AA Patawaran, the anthology consists of stories, precious glimpse of the life and struggles of the featured artists, written by journalists who were originally published in the Arts and Culture section of Manila Bulletin Lifestyle. Many have acknowledged the current edition for promoting Filipino artists and their talents, so much so that it has received an Anvil Award earlier this year.
De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (CSB) hosted a reintroduction of the opus during an event titled Books Come Alive! at the 8th floor, Library Commons, School of Design and Arts (SDA) Building held on July 24. The activity underscored the contribution of the Arts and Culture Cluster faculty members and other featured writers and artists of the SDA in the book. These CSB affiliates were Benjie Torrado-Cabrera, RM De Leon, Noel el Farol, Jason Moss, and Vincent Padilla.
“The collection chases the evolution of each artist in facing personal and social challenges,” says Mark Dy, head of Marketing of The Manila Bulletin. “It celebrates the local artists’ interpretation of global art movements while highlighting distinctive Pinoy aesthetics.”
Indeed, Filipino Artists in their Studios captures the diversity of our country’s artistic landscape. It evokes the idea that artists exist to inspire us and refine our beliefs. It helps us with introspection, with how we perceive, feel, and understand everything, as the world has its ways of befuddling our brains and hardening our hearts, which a touch of art can perhaps soften. These local artists and their works remind us of our identity, culture, and history, and so it is only fitting that we honor them.