God’s presence tackled by leading artists in ‘Kristo’ exhibits in Cebu, Intramuros | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

CEBU Archbishop Jose Palma and artist Wilfredo Offemaria Jr.
CEBU Archbishop Jose Palma and artist Wilfredo Offemaria Jr.

OPENED on the eve of the Feat of the Ascension recently, “Art & Soul: 10 Years of Kristo Manila & the Kristo Niño in Cebu City” shows Filipino artists tackling representations of the Passion of Christ and the Infant Jesus.

Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, who formally opened the exhibit, noted the auspicious launching of the show on May 16. He said the date came before Ascension Sunday, which marked the Apostles’ final moments in physical proximity with Jesus.

The prelate explained that the artists seemed to heed the clamor for or answer their own need of expressing art that signified the presence of God.

“Kristo” is the annual Lenten exhibit of Christ’s Passion as represented in contemporary art, and the inclusion of the Infant Jesus is a nod to the most popular devotion in Cebu and the Philippines.

The Basilica Minore de Santo Niño de Jesus in Cebu City, which is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its canonical elevation as a minor basilica, has a grand retablo featuring the Messiah as an Infant and on the Cross.

Monsignor Palma was joined in the ribbon-cutting by Cebu Mayor Michael Rama; National Commission for Culture and the Arts Commissioner Fr. Harold Rentoria; OSA; Marichu Tellano of the NCCA; and Fr. Rodolfo Bugna, OSA, of the Agustinian Province of the Santo Niño de Cebu at the Art Center of SM City Cebu.

The exhibit is part of the celebration of National Heritage Month. Mayor Rama said Cebu was the cradle of Christianity.

“Whether they like it or not, this is where it all started,” he said.

Fr. Rentoria said the exhibit was an exercise of heritage preservation.

“Heritage is about our nation, our community and us,” he explained.

"STO. Nino de Bergoglio," by Dante Lerma
“STO. Nino de Bergoglio,” by Dante Lerma

“National Heritage Month is a time to remember our past, celebrate what we have preserved in the present, and renew our commitment to preserve our heritage for the future generations.

“Preservation of cultural heritage does not only happen in one day or only during the month of May.

“Heritage preservation is a lifetime commitment.”

Fr. Rentoria explained the NCCA, through the Subcommission for Cultural Heritage, which he heads, formulated programs and projects “on rediscovery and understanding of our heritage.”

“People and communities are invited to celebrate their heritage and share the good news of preserving it,” the Augustinian added.

The Manila leg of the exhibit is running at the NCCA Gallery in Intramuros.

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