Power of the ordinary in Benjie Mallari’s ‘Walks of Life’
Philippine Daily Inquirer / 01:30 AM September 26, 2016
BAGUIO-BASED painter Benjie Mallari focuses on the power of ordinariness in his new exhibition “Walks of Life.”
His paintings reflect not only the different characters that make up humanity, but also zeroes in on a specific historical time and setting: that of Philippine society before and a little after World War II.
“The images are from the 1930s to the late 1950s,” says Mallari. “They reference old Manila, focusing on scenes from the iconic Escolta of that era.”
His works center on subjects in the act of movement—crossing the street, coming home from work, on the way to school or market—and places them in the vacuum of an abstract background. In this manner, Mallari freezes his subjects as fascinating elements for observation.
“I am hoping the backgrounds make my work more timeless and more modern making them more relevant to today’s viewers,” he says. “Everyone remembers old Manila in black-and-white. I want to bring that image into something more contemporary.”
“Walks of Life” runs Sept. 29-Oct. 9, at Galleria Nicolas, Glorietta 4, Makati City.