by Anna Gamboa
Exploring the role of art in contributing to the creation of icons, myths or a version of the truth, “Propaganda” closes on July 4, 2015. The last exhibit to be held at the Lopez Museum before they move to their (temporary) home, it takes advantage of the different galleries, as well as artworks from different eras to deliver a hefty slice of history, laced with the rhetoric of the times.
Further enhancing the experience of being in the midst of so much art and history, app-enabled Samsung Smart TVs and mobile devices allow museum goers to leaf through fragile old books dating back to the 15th century, examine a master’s drawings more closely—like viewing the detailed ultra-violet scans of the iconic Espana y Filipinas by Juan Luna—and see more material related to an artist or artwork. The blend of traditional and digital museum aids allow for a better experience – which bridge or fill in gaps when visitors want to explore “Propaganda” on their own.
Commemorating the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, the exhibit is also a tribute to one of its artist/collaborators—Don Salubayba—who passed away unexpectedly during the planning process. An area set aside for the works of this 2009 CCP Thirteen Artists Awardee reveals his playful and indomitable creative spirit. In a similar vein, an installation by Santiago Bose—Pasyon at Rebolusyon—is brought back in another area of the museum with the skill of Baguio-based artist Kawayan de Guia.
Featuring stills from LVN movies made during the postwar period, other areas of the exhibit also features election materials from the early to mid 20th century, rare Philippine prints and maps—all curated in the context of the exhibit. There are commissioned works like Nunelucio Alvarado’s social commentary using small portraits using collage techniques—and no two are alike. Alvin Yapan’s Ulang Palay film installation is surreal, and almost mesmerizing as projected grains of rice fall endlessly. Joey Cobcobo merges printmaking and installation work as exhibit visitors are invited to wear bakya or wooden slippers that leave religious-themed prints with every step.
Co-curator Ethel Villafranca explains that the exhibition invites visitors to “reflect on where we, as a country, have been and where we are going”. Fleshing out the idea of myth-making, and its capacity to inspire, derail or change national progress, “Propaganda” aims to engage the public, challenge them to see the connections in history and culture within the objects in the exhibition, and be more discerning when presented with any information. Viewed in the context of a 20th century war that seems long over, and the looming political elections of 2016—there’s no better place to lose yourself a little while experiencing art and history.
Images courtesy of Lopez Museum
For more information on the exhibit, call Tina Modrigo at 6312417 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Lopez Museum and Library is at the G/F Benpres Bldg., Meralco cor. Exchange Rd., Ortigas Center, Pasig City. Museum and library hours are 8-5pm Mondays through Saturdays except Sundays and holidays.