Sunday, February 17, 2008

A Smile in the Face of Adversity

Publish in What's On & Expat, 17 February 2008

In the Greek legend of Pandora and her box, it is well known that upon its opening all the troubles of the world were unleashed with the last to emerge being hope. Although considered by many to be a virtue along with faith and charity, to others, such as the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, hope is the worst of troubles. About hope he says “In truth, it is the most evil of evils because it prolongs man's torment.”

In her current exhibition, “After the Rain” at Galleria Duemila, the Italian based Filipino artist Lina Llaguno-Ciani tends towards the more populist view. The oils on canvas in this exhibition, inspired by a severe storm in Bicol last year, are presented with a definitely optimistic palette of endearing hues.

Some of the works even have a photographic recorded moment in time feel about them. Such as “After the Storm” where a butterfly, three ants and a dragonfly inspect a ravaged fence line or “Bird Song” where a small song bird debates which tune will best express the fate of the precariously balanced leaf below its perch. These paintings portray Llaguno-Ciani’s extensive graphic abilities and the lovingly captured detail she includes in the works showcase her excellent drawing skills.

And these skills are clearly evident in her other works. Like the detailed rendering of the pinned leaves and butterflies in the superimposed panel over the bleak leafless trees of “Tree Tanaga 3”. Along with butterflies, which provide the foliage for the twisted tree with an egg half buried at its base in “Tree Tanaga 2”, the egg is a recurring motif in Llaguno-Ciani’s work. In “Tree Tanaga 1” the branches of the twisted, leafless tree are adorned with eggs, one of which shows an embryonic fish like creature as occupant. Then there is "Sisyphus' Hometown" in which the fictional character rolls an egg towards an unperceived precipice on a rickety man made structure over a rocky, debris strewn foreground.

In this exhibition the glass is half full, as Llaguno-Ciani rejects the German philosopher’s maxim and allows her Filipino heritage of “a smile in the face of adversity” to shine through. “After the Rain” continues at Galleria Duemila, 210 Loring St, Pasay City until the end of the month. More information is available at along with a preview of the works, although it is a much more rewarding experience to see them in the flesh than on the small screen

1 comment:

wandering storyteller said...

Hey Henry,

I used the vertical banner in your site to promote "Through Australian Eyes" on my blogs. Hope you don't mind :)