Saturday, January 26, 2008

Manila Manila

Artists throughout the centuries have used a recurring motif in their work as they explore the ideas associated with it, be it the Madonna and Child of religious inspired works to the formaldehyde tanks of British artist Damien Hirst. For Spanish artist Cesar Caballero it is a Pinocchio type character often adorned with a red mitre that often makes an appearance in his work.

And so it is in Caballeros’ latest exhibition, along with Italian artist Nino Quartana, at Calerie Astra on the 2nd floor of the LRI Business Plaza. Entitled “Manila Manila” this exhibition displays each of these expat artists’s view of living in the Philippine capital.

The overt religiosity that imbues daily life in the Philippines is evident in both their works. With the afore mentioned Pinocchio character and a rendering of the Madonna and Child in “He Lived” by Callabero and as the crowning image in Quartana’s monumental “One Year in Manila”. A mixed media work of 52 photographs and drawings encased in Perspex that covers the full gamut of Manila scenes from the ubiquitous jeepney via the military to cityscapes.

Whereas Callabero’s works are big and brash abstract expressionist inspired mixed media pieces, like the man himself, Quartana uses a range of mediums, painting both acrylic and oil, photographs as well as mixed media to express his ideas.

If you want to see this outsiders commentary on Manila you will have to be quick as it closes on 1st of February. But till then it can be seen at Gallerie Astra, 2nd Floor LRI Business Plaza, 210N Garcia St (formerly Reposo), Makati City.