Thursday, November 12, 2015

What is a hero? History is replete with stories of valor and courage, with a hero defending the honor of his family, village, nation. A country often builds its identity on the backs of the narratives it constructs around their heroes. But true history is anything but clear-cut, and Philippine history in particular is frequently painted in shades of grey. The recent attention to films such as Heneral Luna posits that, more often than not, we are our own worst enemy.

Artist Juanito Torres (b. 1977) has built his practice around the “mythologizing” aspects of Philippine nation-building. His paintings parse out the truths from the constructed “histories” we are taught in school and lace them with a scathing awareness of how the efforts of historians, screenwriters, politicians, and the masses have appropriated, re-appropriated, and recycled Philippine heroes for whatever purposes they may serve. In this manner, his practice serves to stimulate the recent interest in history. Indeed, Torres’ practice is a vital component in fleshing out what it truly means to be Filipino.

Haunting, surreal, and technically astute, the new works that will be exhibited in his upcoming show, “Icons and Superheroes,” are an invaluable visual entry point into Philippine history, culture, and society.

Juanito Torres is a product of the Philippine High School of the Arts, and the College of Fine Arts of the University of the Philippines. He is known for historical work that merges the surrealist tradition with an almost encyclopedic knowledge of Philippine history to bring out new truths of contemporary Philippine society. A 2005 Metrobank Art and Design Excellence Award Finalist, the artist had his first one-man show at Galerie Joaquin in 2011. His works have since been included in many prominent museums around the country — including the Museum of the Katipunan in San Juan City, the Miguel Malvar Museum in Batangas, and in the forthcoming Luna Museum of the National Historical Commission.

His works are in demand by modern and contemporary collectors and have done well in recent auctions of Leon Gallery.

“Icons and Superheroes” by Juanito Torres opens at Galerie Joaquin on December 3, 2015, Thursday, 6:00 p.m.

Exhibit will run until December 17, 2015.

Galerie Joaquin is located at 371 P. Guevarra St., San Juan.

You Might Also Like