Four months, seven museums, one book, one gala— whew! One big tribute to the first Filipino National Artist, Fernando Amorsolo. Manila has never seen such a comprehensive retrospective before. Amidst all the women, and rice rituals, and portraits, and landscapes with Philippine light shining ever so bright, the smallest exhibit looms largest in my memory: Tell-tale: the Artist as Storyteller, Amorsolo as Co-author at the Lopez Memorial Museum.
Perhaps it is the space that encourages this feeling of intimacy with Amorsolo the illustrator. Or perhaps the works themselves work their charm on the viewer, revealing a casual, sometimes irreverent, side to the legendary man. True to form, the museum’s curatorial team inject
elements of contemporary art into this body of early 20th century drawings, water colors, and ink wash pieces via Ikoy Ricio’s sawdust sculpture and small paintings. Ikoy’s work, interspersed alongside the original Amorsolo pieces from which he derives them, contribute to the
delight, whimsically bringing to life Amorsolo’s illustrations: the dancing pillow, the sprinting coat, the dangling monkey. Another appealing touch: actual reproductions of the books where Amorsolo’s illustrations appeared. Faithful down to the color of paper used, these interactive components literally put a handle on how it feels to appreciate the maestro.
Tell-tale: the Artist as Storyteller, Amorsolo as Co-author is at the Lopez Memorial Museum until 4 April 2009. For more about the Lopez Musuem, check out www.lopezmuseum.org.ph. For more about His Art Our Heart Amorsolo Retrospective, log on to www.amorsoloretro.com