The Manila art scene for 2016 starts off well with a feast of exhibitions dedicated to Benedicto Cabrera (more familiarly known as BenCab), one of the country’s National Artists, perhaps to conclude the celebration of the artist’s 50 creative years. Aside from the musical performed by reknowned actress Iza Calzado last July and the year-long sale of limited-edition BenCab merchandise (Samsung phone, Freeway apparel, Secret Fresh toys and figurines, National Bookstore stationary and the like), four great art institutions — the Yuchengco Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Manila, the Ayala Museum and the Jorge B. Vargas Museum, curated exhibitions, showcasing different aspects of the artist’s versatile creative life.
BenCab in Two Movements: Yuchengco Museum
Visiting Dates: January 4 – 16, except Sundays and holidays
View how the art of painting and dance can intersect with each other through this exhibition on selected BenCab paintings depicting various dance forms, created with the help of Chinese dancer San Lee and Polish dancer and choreographer Paulina Wycichowska.
BenCab: The Filipino Artist: Met Manila
Visiting Dates: January 4 – February 27, except Sundays and holidays
The exhibition covers a comprehensive collection of BenCab artworks from drawings and prints to paintings and sculptures. A retrospective exhibition by nature, BenCab: The Filipino Artist showcases the evolution of the artist from his earlier years as an artist, and his recurring themes: historical revisits, indigenous representation, and emotions through his common subject, Sabel.
BenCab Portraits: Ayala Museum
Visiting Dates: January 4 – 24, except Mondays and holidays
Loaned from different groups and individuals, the portraits painted, drawn and sketched by BenCab shows his versatility in terms of medium and scale. In partnership with Samsung, digital copies of the artworks can be viewed through provided digital devices.
BenCab: Another Scale: Vargas Museum
Visiting Dates: January 9 – 29, except Sundays and holidays
Previously displayed in Bandung, Java, Indonesia in 1998, BenCab’s installation work with fellow Southeast Asian artists will be recreated and will be on display at the Vargas Museum. The installation tackles issues on urbanization and how it affects the environment.
BenCab, as highlighted by the variety of exhibitions dedicated to his works, has indeed widened up his oeuvre from prints, drawings and paintings to sculpture of different materials and collaborative installation. Do not let these opportunities to appreciate his works pass!