For over 50 years, staff and guests of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) have had the pleasure of dining in the presence of two brilliant masterpieces by National Artist Vicente Manansala.
In 1962, shortly after the IRRI facility in Los Baños was established, it commissioned Manansala to paint two murals. One was installed at its cafeteria and the other in its dining room.
In commemoration of Manansala’s 104th birthday, artists and art enthusiasts will join the scientific community at the IRRI headquarters on Jan. 29 to pay tribute to the late National Artist and his murals.
The day-long event, “Si Manansala at ang Masaganang Ani,” will have a special viewing of the paintings, a symposium on the artist’s life and work, and a special exhibit.
Manansala was a multi-awarded artist who became popular for his trademark Transparent Cubism technique. He was proclaimed National Artist in 1982, a year after he died.
Twenty Filipino artists, some who knew Manansala personally and had worked with him directly, will be visiting the institute for sketching and painting sessions followed by an art market.
Artists include Hermes Alegre, Rey Arcilla, Lito Balagtas, Cee Cadid, Cris Cruz, Buds Convocar, Ember Crisostomo, Fil de la Cruz, Anna de Leon, Rudolf Gonzales, Boy Mata, Nemesio Miranda, Francis Nacion, Roel Obemio, Al Perez, Omi Reyes, Ephraim Samson, Aner Sebastian, Migs Villanueva and Joseph Villamar.
Featured speakers in the symposium at 2:30 p.m. are Manansala’s granddaughter Ronna, herself an artist; Nemesio Miranda, head of the Committee on Visual Arts of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA); Ana Labrador, assistant director at the National Museum; Ben Vergara, National Scientist and trustee of the National Museum; and Maritess Pineda, president of the Friends of Manansala Foundation, Inc. (FMF)
Production of limited-edition prints of the two Manansala paintings at IRRI will be launched during the event.
In November 1984, the Manansala paintings at IRRI underwent preventive conservation. Almost 30 years later, IRRI is once again exploring options to protect the paintings, including relocation of the murals, and is working closely with the FMF, National Museum, and the NCCA.