Meeting a Billiant Bulaqueña Through Her Art
In our recent trip to the Museo ng Republika ng 1899, we did not only have the chance to take deeper look at the role our hometown played in giving birth to a new republic through the Malolos Congress, and reminisce some memories of my younger years spent inside the Barasoain church; we also had a chance to learn about a brilliant young artist from Guguinto, Bulacan.
Bulacan is know to have been forged by history and heroism, it is one of the province represented in the eight rays of sun in the flag of the Philippines. We have all sort of patriots and national heroes, from the propaganda movement where Protacio Alimuom and Mariano Ponce actively engaged, Gregorio Del Pilar who was the youngest in the revolution against Spanish rule and the Philippine-American war, to Felipe Buencamino, Sr. who was a constitutionalist in the Malolos Congress. What is not as well known is that the province of Bulacan has produced artists who've made names for themselves making the province proud. From national artist Levi Celerio (Music), Guillermo Tolentino national artist (Sculpture); poets like Francisco Balagtas; composers like Ernani Cuenco, Nicanor Abelardo and Francisco Santiago ; to Amado V. Hernández and Virgilio S. Almario for literature.
As it turns out, what we came to see in the recent solo exhibit from Diana Grace Manalastas wasn't her first exhibit in Museo ng Republika ng 1899. The video above features her resiklo collection, which was also exhibited in Philippine Center in New York in 2017. The ongoing exhibit is a floral collection she aptly titled "Everlasting". In this collection she figured out a way to create visual representation of flowers, making them last longer than their usual bloom.
Diana Grace Manalastas is a self-taught artist brilliant at avant-garde technique or method. Her documented early works dates back to 1993 when she was just 15 years old, making sculptures and figurines from ceramic. Her recent works are in mix media, with expertise in resurrecting junk materials into meaningful artforms.
Among the artworks on display from Diane's recent collection, this one is my favorite. In part because sunflowers are @dandalions favorite, coupled with how realistic looking it is from the bloom to the pot. It is also the simplest looking out of the collection. Who could have thought that the materials used in all these pieces were once junks. "A Sunflower" was also the piece selected by the curator to create the posters and invites for the exhibit. @dandalion and I both wish to meet Diane one day. She after all lives barely 11 Kilometers away from our residence.
Note: All the photos used in this post were taken by yours truly using a Huawei P9 Lite. The artworks are from Diana Grace Manalastas.