THE JUMALON family of artists are perhaps the best-kept secret in contemporary Philippine art. They haven’t exhibited together in more than 20 years, each adhering to the individual paths they had hewn for themselves.
There have been invitations from galleries, but it wasn’t easy to consolidate the schedules of the six members of the Jumalon house that have since settled in different cities spanning Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. More than geographical constraints, the artists had their own projects and priorities that sought completion.
This month, the Jumalons mark their return to the art scene as a complete unit in the exhibit “Essentia” which runs until Feb. 24 at The Boston Gallery in Cubao.
Who are the Jumalons?
What is the likelihood that a lineage could bring about beings with similar artistic essences and inclinations? Edwin, Lorna, Amihan, Jana, Winner and Is share a common origin and a common bond for art.
Edwin Jumalon is an engineer who has decided to devote all of his time to visual art, proving to be a key figure in a renaissance of local exhibits, street art, and performance in Zamboanga City during the 1990s. Lorna Fernandez is the matriarch of the family known for her assemblages and collages involving found objects, industrial items, and recycled materials.
Amihan is the eldest of the four Jumalon siblings. A Philosophy graduate of the Ateneo de Zamboanga University, she has perhaps worn the most hats, having been involved in painting, academic teaching, music, art workshops and theater.
Jana Jumalon-Alano, in addition to being a visual artist, is also an accomplished singer-songwriter. She has garnered recognition as a Juror’s Choice awardee for Visayas in the Phillip Morris Art Awards 2011.
Winner Jumalon is perhaps the most recognizable and the most celebrated artist in the family lineup. He is a multi-award-inning contemporary visual artist based in Manila. He is a two-time finalist of the Philip Morris Art Awards, and in 2009 won the Thirteen Artists Award (TAA) from the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
Is Jumalon is the youngest of the brood who is on her senior year in UP Diliman’s Fine Arts program.
In “Essentia,” Edwin Jumalon’s recent paintings evoke rather than describe, combining disparate forms from memory, technology, and personal history to uncover the oddities of modern life when seen at the level of the detached mind.
Lorna Fernandez’s self-taught passion for surreal self-portraits and paintings of flora developed into an exploration of the interplay between sexuality and domesticity and expanded her media to include cloth dolls and wall-hung assemblages which feature prominently in her new works.
In her recent works, Amihan draws from mythology and tackles tragedy and motherhood, incorporating paper collages and colored thread in her minimalist acrylic figurations of the mother and child.
Jana’s pieces for the show include a large installation captures the plight of displaced refugees in the ongoing Mindanao conflict.
Winner Jumalon uses charcoal and oils to present the human figure as the prime catalyst to accrete a build-up of images drawn from the subconscious.
Is Jumalon dips into the visual language of possibility and irony, superimposing acrylic on photographs to evoke the primal energies of birth and destruction.
In “Essentia,” there seems to be no common thread running through the disparate works of the Jumalons.
Looking at the combined paintings and sculptural pieces, we can see a hint of a shared origin in the earthy color palette utilized by each artist. More importantly, there is some commonality in the degree of gravitas in each of their work, pointing to perhaps a growing spirituality and concern for the human condition.
“Essentia” runs until Feb. 24 at Boston Gallery, 72 Boston Street, Cubao, Quezon City.