Benjie Mallari’s new exhibit, “All in the Past,” is an evocation of Old Manila through representations of its denizens in traditional costumery.
According to art writer Grace A. Ng, “Mallari finds himself working on the vintage ‘expansion’—a habit of taking little artistic relics of the past and giving them new life, larger than life, on canvas.”
The nostalgia theme is carried out in vintage iconography:
Escolta in its glory days, vintage cars, peddlers on the street, horse carriages, and men and women in retro and traditional fashion.”
The imagery betrays the artist’s—and oldtimer’s—longing for the past and disenchantment with the present.
“Remembering helps structure his narrative,” wrote Ng. “Some memories will be recognizable, while others will fade away into abstract thoughts of textures, forms, and colors.”
While an art director of Meralco, Mallari was a cartoonist of Pahayagang Malaya during the Marcos era. Now based in Baguio, Mallari had also designed the centennial calendar of National Artist Fernando Amorsolo, and jacket covers of albums of works by National Artist for Music Lucio San Pedro. He took up fine arts at the University of the East.—CONTRIBUTED
“All in the Past” is on view until June 16 at Galerie Joaquin UP Town Center, Quezon City; tel. 2471109. Artist’s Reception is on June 11 at 6 p.m.