The Portrait Artists Society of the Philippines (PASPI), Manila marked its first anniversary last month. After Romulo Galicano initiated and nurtured PASPI Cebu 10 year ago, 2019 saw the birth of Paspi Manila.
PASPI Manila, like its Cebu counterpart, is a non- profit, non – stock organization of professional and aspiring young artists whose primary aim is to promote and propagate the art of portraiture and figurative art in the Philippines.
PASPI seeks to create more awareness and appreciation of classical realism through art education and regular practice. It seeks to educate young artists in the knowledge of the arts and hone their techniques through lectures and art demonstrations and workshops.
Its founding members are: Dante Silverio, Maridi Nivera, Lita Wells and Romeo Ballada.
PASPI’s officers as of today are: Cee Cadid, president; Diana Alferez, secretaty; Joem San Claria, assistant secretary; Lita Wells, treasurer; and Maridi Nivera, assistant treasurer.
Through the generous sponsorship of Ms. Judy Araneta and Mr. George Araneta, PASPI regularly meets every Wednesday at the Gateway Gallery at the Araneta Center.
Wednesday, February 5, last week, Romulo Galicano, PASPI’s founder celebrated his 75th birthday at Hot Off The Press, a restaurant in Quezon City. Natrurally, all PASPI members from Cebu and Manila were all present in their black uniform .
As I entered the restaurant (surprisingly arriving sans the regular expected traffic ), I saw a sea of distinguished senior artists all in black. This made me feel out of place as I specially wore a red shirt thinking that it would be the appropriate color to wear for Mr. Galicano’s birthday bash. I was wrong!
It was a relief when I saw a few other guests like Ormoc Congresswoman Lucy Torres and Raffy Benitez of Erewhon Publishing who both wore white. Of course, there were those others who wore colored clothes; and they were Galicano’s family members and a sprinkling of other well wishers who were no members of PASPI.
Thanks to Maridi Nivera who acted as master of ceremonies that evening, guests who wore non-black tops felt “at home”.
Maridi Nivera prepared trivia questions about Galicano’s life – from his childhood in Carcar, Cebu, to his many adventures as a young artist in Manila. If one was able to answer Ms. Nivera’s questions, they received a package of cookies.
Adding even more excitement to the occasion, renowned sculptor Fred Baldemor donated two sculptures as a raffle prize; while artists Cee Cadid and Romeo Ballada each donated landscape paintings, in pastel and in oil.
As the guests sang the Happy Birthday song, Galicano blew one candle on a 3 tiered cake baked by his daughter Josephine. The cake was topped by a recent self portrait of Galicano himself.
Capping the evening to everyone’s delight, was a raffle and the prize was a priceless landscape by Galicano in oil won by Dr. Mark Fernandez. What a wonderful way to end the evening.
With smiles on everyone’s face, it was an extremely jubilant atmosphere that filled the whole place.
It was after all Romulo Galicano’s big day, and what a celebration it was for PASPI and the gang!!!
The Erehwon Center for the Arts will be one of the major exhibitors joining this year’s Ortigas Art Festival from February 28-March 8, 2020 at Estancia Mall, Capitol Commons in Pasig City.
Heber Bartolome’s painting entitled: Ang Bayan, 12 feet by 3 feet mixed media painting, will be Erehwon’s centerpiece at the art festival. The painting is a vivid portrayal of the Filipino people’s collective struggle against injustice and oppression over the years. The painting was completed in 1983 and it seems to have presaged events that happened three years later.
Apart from its political significance, the painting is also of big sentimental value to the artist. Speaking of the painting, which is priced at P20M, Ka Heber Bartolome says: “If somebody wants to buy it, it is for sale. But I cannot sell it for less, or even exchange it for several Mercedes Benzes. Because of the toxic fumes from the oil paint, the painting cost him blood and tears, literally and figuratively, to finish”.
Heber Bartolome, well-known for his progressive songs (Buhay Pinoy, Karaniwang Tao, Nena, Tayo’y mga Pinoy, and others), is a graduate of Fine Arts from the University of the Philippines, and has a master’s degree in Philippine Literature.. He has held several art exhibitions, locally and internationally. His paintings, like his songs, depict the realities of Philippine life and the sentiments of ordinary Filipinos.
Along with Heber’s painting, Erehwon’s exhibit at the Ortigas Art Festival will also include sculptures made from upcycled materials by Marlon Lucenara; Dei Jardiniano; and Robot Cawaling.
The 2020 Ortigas Art Festival will showcase artworks from various galleries and by individual artists, local and international, with overall exhibition design by Renato Habulan.
The festival will also feature workshops and demonstrations on painting, stenciling, sketching, watercolor, and other visual art skills.
See you at the Estancia Mall at Capitol Commons starting on February 28, the Heber Bartolome works promise to be “historical” ….at the same time interesting to view.