Lanuza’s intriguing narrative of ‘The Interrogation of Maria Clara’

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“Partners in Crime”

It is the bewitching hour of 3 a.m. There is someone holding a glass of red wine by the doorway. Goofy, in his long johns, he silently snakes his way through the living room, lit candle in hand.

A Filipino gentleman (shades of Crisostomo Ibarra) is seated on the coach innocuously holding hands with a Caucasian lady. A feminine beauty in Filipiniana comes in the door and chances upon the couple. Suddenly the police are on the alert, bullhorn blaring.

The title of the painting is “A-ha! (Caught in the Act).” It is the opening piece for the concept presentation “The Interrogation of Maria Clara,” the second solo show of artist Aileen Lanuza, which opens Aug. 8 at 6 p.m. at Galerie Joaquin in San Juan, Metro Manila.

This show promises to be the first of its kind.  It is a series of 12 paintings depicting scenes of events that allow the viewer to take each and every painting and weave an entire tale, making his own interpretation along the way.

“Interrogation of Maria Clara” is a scriptwriter’s dream, each painting just giving hints of things that unfold, leading the viewer forward. The works present an opportunity for the viewer to tell their own tale, concoct their own story, and end it the way they will.

But why is Maria Clara being interrogated in the first place? How can this fragile and revered lass be the subject of an interrogation? Why are the police seemingly so ready to have her picked up and put in the slammer? The questions posit an array of intriguing possibilities.

Dracula, Humphrey Bogart, James Dean, the Wicked Witch, Donald Duck, Popeye, the Cheshire Cat, Bart and Lisa Simpson, Yosemite Sam and even Asiong Salonga are among the many characters that find their way into Lanuza’s paintings in this exhibition.

Lanuza’s show is a combination of Hollywood, your favorite Disney characters, Filipino art and literature, the Philippine silver screen—all major concerns and interest of the artist.

A cum laude product of the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts, Lanuza’s interest in the celluloid world and contemporary art challenged her to explore further her own creative imagination.

Is there a Wicked Twin? What happened to the Filipino Gentleman? Who were the rogues in the Rogues Gallery? Who was being hunted and why? What was discussed in The Planning dinner? Was Maria Clara a heroine or a heel? Only the viewer holds the key to unlocking this modern-day puzzle.

Lanuza’s inspiration seems to have been sourced from such  foreign and local films  as Christopher Nolan’s “The Prestige,” “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”, “Casablanca,” “Asiong Salonga,”  as well as important gems of Philippine literature such as the “Noli Me Tangere” and “El Filibusterismo.”

Lanuza has won several awards. Recently she won the Juror’s Choice in the GSIS Annual Art Competition.

Her paintings have also been included in past auctions of Larasati and Borobudur and have been featured in publications such as Larasati, Pictures of Asia and the UP Alumni Centennial celebration publication “100 Years, 100 Nudes.”

One of her most recent accomplishments is a 10 ft x 30 ft mural depicting the traditions and customs of the idyllic city of San Juan, as well as a mural on the Philippine revolution for the Araneta Center.

The show runs until Aug. 19. Galerie Joaquin is at 371 P. Guevarra St. cor. Montessori Lane, Addition Hills, San Juan City. Call tel. 632-7239418 or e-mail info@galeriejoaquin.com. Visit www.galeriejoaquin.com.

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