he Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is known for its comprehensive collection of paintings from the provinces. These artworks intimate the peculiarities in various part of the country, and the tendencies that prevail in the places where the artists hail and practice.
Out of thousands of Philippine islands, its provincial cities and towns are bestowed with virtuous artists who deserved to be glorified and not to be forgotten. In the effort to give recognition to these artists, the Metropolitan Museum of Manila launches an exhibition titled Distinct Refinements: Painting from the Provinces featuring selected artworks from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas collection, complemented with paintings from the MET Collection, the Jorge B. Vargas Museum and Filipiniana Research Center – University of the Philippines Collection and private collectors.
Drawn from the scholarly research of its curator, Professor Santiago Albano Pilar, the exhibition highlights the idiosyncratic character of each work that reflects so much of the place where it originated. Every image narrates a story of its provenance; of history and culture. Perceived through the paintings hanged against the wall are typical rural milieu; the vista of greeneries from nipa huts on the hillside, women on their baro at saya walking down the street and some images of people doing chores or chatting in the neighborhood. Portraits of nobilities and few religious paintings are also on display that connotes the social stature of the owners on their respective towns.
Despite the lack of formal academic training, the featured artists thrived in the field and gained accomplishments through their works. The roster of painters in the exhibit includes Pedro Ardeña from Capiz who exhibited in the St. Louis Universal Exposition in 1904, Pedro Salazar of Batangas, Tomas Diores of Cebu, and Pedro Respall of Iloilo, among others.
In conjunction with the exhibit, the MET re-launches its CineMET Program with a showcase of award-winning short films featured in Cinema Rehiyon, a project organized by the Cinema Committee of the National Commission for Culture and Arts. The CineMET x Cinema Rehiyon Program coincides with the centenary of Philippine cinema celebrated this year.
Distinct Refinements: Painting from the Provinces is on view at the MET Tall Galleries from June 22 to October 28, 2017.