Tuesday, February 7, 2012

10 years of great art

10 years of milestones at Galerie Joaquin

Today back in Manila, I had a pretty wonderful day that included lots of jolly bantering in the office, a nice lunch with the executives of the Hong Kong Tourism Board to celebrate Chinese New Year, and then a cocktail party at Galerie Joaquin to celebrate their 10th anniversary.

We have a very fun team at Travelife Magazine these days. Everyone works very hard -- only people who can work hard and fast, and who can multi-task, can actually stay on working here -- but we all enjoy each other's company and there's lots of teasing and joking around the office when we're not under pressure.


And now the pressure's let up just a little bit. Gel, our director of business development, was back at the office today after a business trip to Rome and Tuscany; while Carlo and Bryan, our dynamic editorial tandem who were just in Hong Kong and Indonesia a few weeks ago, were wondering how to fit in trips to Malaysia and Eastern Europe into two of the same weeks.

And we were all trying to decide who would be going to Boracay, Palawan and a couple of other lovely places around the country and the globe. So there was a lot of travel haggling and horse-trading going on at the office today.

While all this was happening, I was also looking at my own private schedule as I have two cruises booked in the next three months -- one is an Orient-Express cruise and the other is a Silversea cruise -- and I just wanted to fit another cruise in somewhere if I could. And oh yes, I'm going to Malaysia, Eastern Europe, Japan and Israel during these same three months as well.


Then at lunch, we headed over to the Mandarin Oriental to toast to the new year over a Chinese laureate with the executives of the Hong Kong Tourist Board, the Hong Kong Economic Council and Cathay Pacific. It was a very fun lunch indeed.

HKTB lauriat at the Mandarin

In the evening, I went over to Galerie Joaquin's main gallery in San Juan to celebrate their 10th year anniversary with owners Jack and Abby Teotico. Jack is one of the country's major art collectors and, apart from his very successful and highly-respected gallery, he also runs Contemporary Art Philippines, an incredibly well-put together glossy art magazine which I always like to read before going to sleep.

Over the years Galerie Joaquin has handled many top artists, young and old -- including Juvenal Sanso, Ramon Orlina, Arturo Luz, Lydia Velasco, Federico Aguilar Alcuaz, Malang and Dominic Rubio -- and curated many major exhibitions for them.

Well, tonight I was very honored because he asked me to cut the ribbon for the re-opening of his renovated gallery in time for the 10th year anniversary, together with Spanish Ambassador Jorges Domecq and the great painter Juvenal Sanso. What an honor to be cutting the ribbon together with these two gentlemen and the vice-governor of the Central Bank.

Afterwards I sat around and caught up with lots of old friends from the art world, as everyone who was anyone was there tonight. These included Christian Alcuaz, son of the late National Artist Federico Aguilar Alcuaz, the great painter Betsy Westendorp, Jonathan Sy of Gallery Big and the driving force behind the annual Manilart show, the highly-collectible sculptor Daniel de la Cruz, and a lot of private collectors and big art lovers.

Galerie Joaquin's party in full swing,
with artists Juvenal Sanso and Betsy Westendorp

After we'd cut the ribbon together, I had a chat with Sanso, a truly charming old-school gentleman and great painter. The last time I'd seen him was after he'd returned from a painting trip to the island resort of Bellarocca, and he'd done what was practically an entire one-man show from his trip at the Tower Club.

Tonight, for some reason, we ended up talking about the influences on his art, and one of the key influences was his experience during the war, when Manila was occupied by the Japanese. I shall recount them in a later blog entry. However, tonight he said: "The things that happened to me then made my art very dramatic, especially in the beginning."

This was really remarkable, particularly as all the works of Sanso I see these days are bright, airy and light. He told me: "It took me a long time to get to this."

A beautiful and bright painting
by Juvenal Sanso


Meanwhile, from February 10 to 16, the esteemed painter Betsy Brias Westendorp, together with Sanso and 11 other artists, are mounting a show at the Crucible Gallery as a fundraising effort for an eye institute. I'm always happy to attend art exhibits and auctions especially if they are for good causes, so I promised her that I would visit their show as soon as possible.

On our way down from the 2nd floor gallery, a sculpture caught my friend's eye and it turned out to be the work of Michael Cacnio, brother of another well-known artist. We looked at one of his sculptures intensely because it was signed -- or rather, engraved -- Cacnio 12 at the bottom. My friend said: "I wonder what the 12 is for?"

Sculptor Michael Cacnio beside one of his works

To me the most obvious reason was that the sculpture was done this year, as in Cacnio 2012. Fortunately the artist and his wife happened to be standing nearby himself, so we were able to talk to him, and he corrected me. "12 stands for 12 years old," Michael Cacnio told us. "Many of my sculptures are playful, and they're remembrances from childhood, from that happy time when I was 12."

I enjoyed lots of stimulating conversations and very good food, plus so much food for the eyes. There were so many beautiful paintings I could have taken home, and a Karlo Magno painting in the entrance especially caught my eye.

Plus we had excellent entertainment. Nolyn Cabahug and Frankie Asederio, two of the country's top tenors, serenaded the audience accompanied by the Manila Philarmonic Orchestra's string quartet. They sang Spanish and Italian love songs, but my favorites were the romantic Philippine songs. Nolyn Cabahug sang "Ikaw" beautifully.

What a wonderful evening. And just another day in our never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.

371 P. Guevarra St.
San Juan, Metro Manila

4th Floor Artwalk
SM Megamall Bldg., Ortigas

* * *

To commemorate the resilience of the Japanese people
one year after the Great Earthquake,
and to celebrate the beauty of Japanese culture.




No comments:

Post a Comment