'BIYAHE' PRESENTS A JOURNEY INTO THE CULTURE OF A PEOPLE

Glenn Cagandahan and Richard Arimado Open Two Man Show at Galerie Raphael, 23 August.

There are many ways to get around, but in the Philippines things tend to get more creative. From the simple and hardy rural carabao to the colourful city jeepneys, caritelas, calesas, and tranvias, Filipinos find ways to get around the impassable—and moreover, they do it with style. Trips in the Philippines become more like mini-adventures, a biyahe (or journey) into the wonderful culture of a nation and its people.

In this light, Galerie Raphael presents a show that encapsulates the essence of that journey, and featuring two veteran artists engaged in different practices: sculpture and painting. Entitled "Biyahe," the show will have an opening reception at Galerie Raphael in Serendra Mall in Bonifacio Global City on August 23 and will run until September 2, 2012.

Galerie Raphael is located at Unit 2C-06, 2nd level, Serendra Mall, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City. They may be reached through their landline at (632) 856-3034, website at www.galerieraphael.com.ph, or email at galerieraphael@yahoo.com.

The two artists in this exhibition capture that manic sense of flair in traveling in and around the Philippines—in two distinctly different forms. Glenn Cagandahan (b, 1977) is a sculptor of folk imagery and subjects, known particularly for his mixed media figurines of farmers on carabaos, often with a guitar in hand or on their way to market with their produce. Richard Arimado (b. 1970) is a painter of perspective, painting birds-eye views of nostalgic street scenes. Between these two noted artists, there is an examination of the nature of travel for the Filipino—and a discovery that there's far more to it than a simple route of from here to there.

Cagandahan is an artist trained at the College of Fine Arts of the University of the Philippines. His works seek to establish Philippine cultural identity through the usage of rural genre scenes—a familiar motif in Philippine visual arts. Cagandahan distinguishes himself by adding another dimension, his sculptures becoming idyllic representations of farm life. Through his usage of the 'travelling farmer' motif, he presents a vision of a calm, peaceful, and simple life. His 'Mother and Child' figurine of the aforementioned subjects traveling atop a carabao is a fine example of how Cagandahan presents traditional motifs in new ways—by placing them in mid-journey atop the very symbol of the Philippine character: the industrious carabao.

Arimado, on the other hand, studied Drafting tech at the Technological Institute of the Philippines, and Advertising at the Panday Sining Art Study Center, and paints fantastic birds-eye views of pedestrians and their commutes. As if they notice the audience, Arimado paints his subjects in the act of looking up, pausing to examine the audience staring down at them. His vision of turn-of-the-century motifs (his work, 'Rizal Avenue Extension' being a great example) shows how transportion is vastly different then from what we have today. Freezing mid-walk was perhaps a luxury we have forgotten, but is captured with wide-eyed curiosity by the intrepid painter.

"Biyahe" is bound to be an exhibition that cannot be missed.