Dexter Sy is ‘Chasing My Own Tail’ in Boston Gallery exhibit | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

SY RECEIVING the Ramon Orlina trophy during the Maningning Miclat Award for Painting in 2004.
Sy (right) with Mario Miclat and author
“Extra ordinary”

At the first Maningning Miclat Art Award held in 2004 at Shangri-La Edsa Mall, a finely executed acrylic-and-ink painting titled “Dominus Vobiscum” won the Grand Prize. The judges were no less than Danilo Dalena, Nestor Vinluan and Gerardo Tan.


Influenced by the Austrian symbolist Gustav Klimt, whose 150th birthday was celebrated in Vienna this year, the Grand Prize winner was a very deliberate and painstaking obra maestra of Dexter Sy.


Sy was 25 years old when he won the Maningning Miclat Award. He was taking up Bachelor of Fine Arts, major in Advertising, at Far Eastern University, his second course after Computer Programming at AMA Computer College.


He said he was not expecting to win and would have been contented to be a finalist because all the other entries were really good.


SY RECEIVING the Ramon Orlina trophy during the Maningning Miclat Award for Painting in 2004.

He used half of his P28,000 prize money for art materials for his thesis; the other half he split between his and his parents’ bank accounts. He went on to graduate in 2005.


In between jobs as graphic designer for different companies, Sy persevered in his art and won awards as Top 10 NCR finalist in 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2011 Philippine Art Award (Philip Morris), and Juror’s Choice for Excellence in the same award body in 2010 and 2012.


Circular work


In his latest exhibit, “Chasing My Own Tail,” which opened at Boston Gallery on Aug. 18, Sy features new mixed-media works of ink, acrylic and spray paint on paper, mostly faces in Tondo style, a Renaissance term for a circular work of art.


The exhibit conveys the artist’s statement that “not everything that can be seen on the outside is the same as what lies within,” a seeming influence by his favorite contemporary Chinese artist, Zhang Xiaogang of the “Bloodline” series of portraits, which were based on Cultural Revolution-era family photographs.

A “TONDO” painting by Dexter Sy


The prolific artist has participated in 35 group exhibits and mounted five solo exhibits. He considered his greatest achievement becoming a full-time artist in 2010. “Dahil sa art ko, kaya ko nang mabuhay nang hindi na kailangang mag-work.” (With my art, I can now live without having a [salaried] job.)


THE AUTHOR with the artist and two of his “tondos”

Last year, Dexter Sy participated in international exhibitions at the Hassla Art World Museum in Korea and the Shanghai Exhibition Centre in China. He got an artist’s residency at Hassla International Open Air Museum Residency and Hassla Art World Museum.


He is set to mount solo shows this year at Hassla Art World Museum, and group shows at Contemporary Hong Kong Art Fair, Manila Art, BenCab Museum and Boston Gallery in December.


Exhibit runs until Sept. 4.


The author is senior VP of Data Center Design Corporation and executive director of Maningning Miclat Art Foundation, Inc. MMAFI is accepting entries to its 2012 Maningning Art Competition on Sept. 10-11 at Liongoren Gallery, New York, Cubao, QC. This year’s theme of the competition is, “Ang Pangarap kong Bayan/My Dream of a Nation.”


E-mail author at Visit and



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