Thursday, January 30, 2014

Lopez Museum and Library opens their new exhibit Complicated on February 21, 2014. Featuring guest visual artists Leslie de Chavez and Mike Adrao, along with dancer/choreographer Ea Torrado, Complicated situates the complicated relationship of the Philippines with its colonial pasts and problematizes the notion that identity is both a product of our post-colonial circumstance and the discourse of nationhood.

The charcoal on paper works by Mike Adrao, collectively titled Colony, comprise of intricately ornamented, larger-than-life anthropomorphic pillars and delicately drawn lattice-like insects whose patterns were researched from the Lopez Library collection. Representing various forms of colonization our country has undergone, his works reference the interplay of our living culture and those of the colonizers that have reached our shores.

Mike Adrao
Charcoal on Paper

Known for his acerbic cultural commentary, Leslie de Chavez presents reactions to the museum’s Per Pacem et Libertatem studies by Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo that focus on colonization –not just as the context of our history, but also as an ongoing process in which we currently dwell on today.

Leslie de Chavez
The King
Oil on Canvas

Choreographer and dancer Ea Torrado presents a seamless 3-channel video installation based on the frantic search of Jose Rizal's Sisa in reaction to the museum's iconic España y Filipinas by Juan Luna. Using Sisa's search for her missing children as a metaphor of post-colonial identity, Torrado presents the journey of searching for the many desaparecidos throughout our history as premised in the unfulfilled promise of modernity and progress in Luna's painting.

Ea Torrado

These works by the invited artists are contextualized amid various collections from the museum's painting and archival collections. Works by Juan Luna, Fabian Dela Rosa, Juvenal Sanso, Jerry Elizalde Navarro, Bencab, Ang Kiukok, among others, are exhibited with select books from the library's collection and rich archive of colonial photographs, maps and cartoons, including those done by Tony Velasquez (known for his creation of Kenkoy), Liborio Gatbonton, and Mario Dangan.

Talks by the invited artists will be accompanying the exhibit. Mike Adrao (March 1), Ea Torrado (May 17), and Leslie de Chavez (July 5) will be discussing the processes and ideas behind their artworks.

Complicated will run until August 2, 2014.

For more information about the exhibit and its activities, call Tina at 631-2417 or email

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  1. Thank you very much for sharing Complicated with your readers. I hope that they visit the Lopez Museum and Library to see the exhibition too!

    - Ethel Villafranca, co-curator of Complicated