National Artist for Theater Design Salvador “Badong” Bernal will be honored with a retrospective exhibition highlighting his various design projects in theater, ballet, opera and film.
Organized by the Cultural Center of the Philippines, “Badong: Salvador Bernal Designs the Stage” will occupy three galleries: Bulwagang Juan Luna, Pasilyo Guillermo Tolentino and Pasilyo Juan Luna.
“Acknowledged as the Father of Theater Design in the Philippines, Bernal was instrumental in elevating theater and production design as a fine art and a profession in the country,” says project coordinator Ricardo Cruz, head of the CCP Production Design and Technical Services Division.
Bernal began designing professionally in 1969 and was involved in more than 300 productions until he passed away in 2011. He was conferred the National Artist Award in 2003.
Bernal headed CCP’s Performing Arts Department from 1981 to 1994 and helped establish the Production Design Center, a three-story building inaugurated in 1993 that houses facilities to construct and fabricate large-scale set-design pieces, and to execute and store costumes.
Bernal also initiated the founding of Kapisanan sa Pilipinas ng Mga Production Designer, which later became the Philippine Association of Theater Designers and Technicians.
The main exhibit features scale models, costumes, and digital images of Bernal’s many projects, mostly for Ballet Philippines and Tanghalang Pilipino, both resident performing companies of CCP where he was resident designer.
Sketches and detailed drawings of sets and costume design give an insight into his process. A timeline exhibit highlights his personal and professional life, and includes a comprehensive listing of his various projects.
Cruz trained under Bernal and assisted him in many projects from the ’80s to the ’90s. Since taking over the post of Bernal, Cruz has continued Bernal’s advocacy to promote and professionalize theater-design practice.
The exhibition is curated by Nicanor Tiongson and Gino Gonzales, both close friends and collaborators of Bernal.
Tiongson is a former CCP artistic director and has authored a book on Bernal, “Salvador F. Bernal: Designing the Stage.”
Gonzales was a student and apprentice of Bernal, who encouraged him to pursue his Master of Fine Arts in Theater Design at the Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. Gonzales has since designed sets and costumes for productions in Manila, Singapore, Japan and New York.
“Badong: Salvador Bernal Designs the Stage” will run July 19-Oct. 27. Call tel. 8321125 loc. 1504/1505 or 8323702. Guided group tours available, call tel. 8321125 loc. 1804.