Philippine folk art plays an important role in the development of the country’s visual arts. With motifs and compositions that are more attuned to indigenous sensibilities, folk art has spurned the creation of a unique Philippine identity that strongly resonated among the pioneers of Philippine art.
Folk art motifs recall a simpler time, exploring the belief systems of native communities and in turn laying the foundation of a “national” art—around which has revolved the nuances of Academic, Modern and Contemporary art practices.
It is this conceptual framework that drives the visual arts practice of Aljo Pingol. Deceptively naïf in his choice of subject, Pingol is in truth a classically trained artist, being a product of the prestigious Fine Arts program of University of Santo Tomas.
His compositional milieu draws heavily from a strong tradition in Philippine folk culture and society. Traditional Filipino values of friendship and loyalty, love and affection for our grandparents and strong family values as well as the laid-back feel of the idyll countryside, figure prominently throughout his works. Interactions between husband and wife, parents and children, grandparents, and families and the community are presented as joyous and happy occasions.
Pingol also draws from the Pinoy flair for fun through his series of clown and circus motifs-often seen mingling with the town folk in fiestas and carnivals. Pingol’s unique and highly innovative style immediately makes his works contemporary by nature.
Pingol will be holding a one-man exhibition at the Atrium of the Podium Mall in Ortigas Center, April 29-May 5. Entitled “Folkism” and hosted by Galerie Joaquin Podium, the exhibition will formally open on May 2.
A fantastic example of Pingol’s style is his painting, “A New Day,” a cacophony of sights and colors. A traditional horse-drawn calesa passes sorbetes (ice cream) and balloon vendors. The brilliant use of color is highly apparent in the finer details—the balloons, the calesa’s yellow paint, the multicolored pathways are all under a bright blue sky. It is as if Pingol has found the means to distill the essence of Philippine optimism and spread it on a canvas.
Similar in approach is “Candy Vendor,” which takes a specific scene and casts it in front of the bright red of a luminous sunset, as well as “Kalesa” with its highly innovative frontal view of the subject.
Optimism is also evident in Pingol’s depictions of various rural types—from the iconic taho vendor to sabong aficionados to workers busy at local crafts.
From a collector’s standpoint, the oeuvre of Pingol is an invitation to this unique artist’s optimistic world. His works are guaranteed to brighten up any room.
The exhibition will be at the 2/F, Atrium, The Podium Mal, ADB Ave., Ortigas Center, Pasig City. For inquiries, visit Galerie Joaquin Podium at Unit B12-B13, lower G/L, The Podium. Call tel. 6347954/7239253; visit www.galeriejoaquin.com.