Only Dr. Joven Cuanang can make Manila’s culturati trek all the way to the hills of Antipolo early on a Sunday morning.
The art community recognizes Dr. Cuanang as a passionate supporter of Philippine contemporary art. He has amassed a formidable collection, the core of which he acquired in the 1990s. At that time, he almost single-handedly patronized a group of artists whom commercial galleries did not welcome into their rosters. Dr. Cuanang opened Boston Gallery out of his own home in Quezon City to provide a venue for the likes of Elmer Borlongan, Mark Justiniani, Emmanuel Garibay, and Jose John Santos III to show their pieces. Now, of course, galleries scramble to have works of these artists up on their walls. Back then, to allow them to paint at will, Dr. Cuanang would invite this group of artists to his retreat in Antipolo on weekends.
After the success of Boston Gallery, the property in Antipolo transformed into another space to showcase art. Pinto Art Gallery stands at the entrance of what would be known as the Silangan Gardens. Dr. Cuanang’s weekend home lies nestled within the garden’s sprawling terrain. His collection, however, needed the proper setting, one that would allow him to share it with the public. Two years ago, Dr. Cuanang began construction of the Pinto Art Museum.
Artist Tony Leaño has translated Dr. Cuanang’s vision into a set of interweaving
mission style structures amidst Silangan Gardens’ greenery, perfect backdrops for the permanent display of art. The depth of the collection, especially of works by artists from the Salingpusa Collective, just staggers. One room houses Mark Justiniani’s oils on wood. Elmer
Borlongan’s earlier, more Mannerist paintings take up a whole other section. We track the evolution of John Santos’ painting styles through his pieces that Dr. Cuanang chose to display. There are more recent works too: I loved Nona Garcia’s Hallow, an assemblage of light boxes that illuminate negative images of varied santos. Each light box has been finished with a carved black wooden frame.
We are so lucky to have art patrons like Dr. Cuanang to take up the slack of our state-run cultural institutions. Thank you Dr. Cuanang for Pinto Art Museum—a wonderful gift to Filipino art lovers!
Pinto Art Museum is located at the Silangan Gardens, 1 Sierra Madre Heights, Grandheights, Antipolo City. It is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 9 am to 6 pm. Phone (632)697-1015 or email firstname.lastname@example.org