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Philippine history in monumental art exhibit

THE first and only art collection in the world illustrating national history through 30 glorious murals under one roof will open to the public on Feb. 18 at the Gateway Gallery. Siningsaysay: Philippine History in Art is a joint project of the University of the Philippines (UP), the University of the Philippines Alumni Association (UPAA) and the Araneta Center. 

Mural depicts historical events from Philippine revolution
SiningSaysay brings to the fore the talents of 28 distinguished UP alumni artists as they interpret Philippine history from pre-Hispanic times to the present. Each artist endeavored to depict his vision in oil and acrylic on canvas over many months, reading and researching, and sometimes vicariously reliving history.

The UP Project Team enlisted respected historians Dr. Serafin Quiazon and Prof. Ma. Luisa Camagay for the artists to consult over the course of their work. Personal research for the artists included everything from surfing the Net, going over old news clips, watching old movies and even obtaining a vintage model airplane to replicate finer details. At no other time has an art collective applied itself so completely to bringing Philippine history to life.

“These works tell the story of us, the Filipino nation narrated visually,” said Alfredo E. Pascual, UP President. “SiningSaysay is an innovative way of teaching history, promoting art appreciation, understanding Filipino identity, and imbibing cultural pride; all constituting valuable aspects of teaching and public service, which the University of the Philippines is mandated to do.”

Recalls Gari M. Tiongco, former UP Regent and former UPAA President, “We conceived this in 2008, and the idea was further developed and refined to this kind of presentation.” 

National symbols representing traditions and ideals on canvas
“The concept was to be a come-on for students to learn the history of the Philippines in just half a day by going around.  And not just going around a museum, but here it is given to you in the form of art, from alumni artists of UP.  Not every country has this, but here, a tourist can come to the Philippines and learn our history by going over these artworks,” he added.

The exhibit fittingly opens in time for the celebration of National Arts Month, as well as the 60th anniversary of the Araneta Center.

The Gateway Gallery, touted as the Philippines’ largest private gallery, is located on the 5th level of the Gateway Tower Mall. 

“Araneta Center has been renowned as a shopping, leisure, entertainment, business, and residential complex over the years. With SiningSaysay, Araneta Center is affirmed as the arts and culture hub of Quezon City. We are housing a collection of great artistic and historic value. This is not just an educational opportunity, but a source of national pride,” said Jorge L. Araneta, Chairman and CEO of the Araneta Group.

SiningSaysay features the works of artists Adonai Artificio, Armand Bacaltos, Adi Baen-Santos, Grandier Bella, Benjie Cabangis, Ben Cabrera, Angel Cacnio, Romeo Carlos, Cris Cruz, Denes Dasco, Gig De Pio, Simkin De Pio, Vincent De Pio, Neil Doloricon, Norman Dreo, Amado Hidalgo, Abdul Asia Mari Imao, Ben Infante, Gigi Javier-Alfonso, Aileen Lanuza, Romeo Mananquil, Norlie Meimban, Julius Samson, Jonahmar Salvosa, Randy Solon, Michael Velasco, Jun Yee, and Janice Young.

The exhibit will be officially open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. to the public on Feb. 19 onwards, everyday. 

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