Thursday, January 31, 2013

ASINTA: Images and Imageries, RCBC Plaza Galleria, Ayala Avenue, Makati City September 2002

The Artist As A Social Critic

For those who grew up during the period of authoritarian rule, the choices for the artist were very few: To create art for its own sake, as a manner of personal expression; or to transform art, perhaps even to elevate it, to the realm of social protest and give it a concience.

Pinggot Zulueta's art genuinely belongs to the second philosophy--and unabashedly so. It stirs the concience--and makes one realize, almost painfully, that one can never find true comfort and the pleasures of a tranquil concience if the broken, oppressed and exploited are left behind. Under autocratic  or more benign rules, the artist as a social activist and critic has persisted through decades. Zulueta follows in the eminent footsteps of Filipino artists in this genre. He has amassed a volume of work on canvas paper worthy of a one-man exhibit.

The artworks cover two decades--the Eighties and nineties, the most critical and memorable in the nation's life since 1946. The evolution of his technique is evident; it is evident too, that his themes are timeless, on the social, economic and political dimensions of national life that his generation has experienced. One can go back a century in our national life and find these themes starkly relevant.

His career took of as an Editorial Cartoonist characterized by riveting images of poverty, upheavals, street protests and subtle anti-imperialism. In his later works as a Photographer, his lens focused on both the faceless and famous, portraying a society of great achievers but with little soul and heart for the forgotten ones.

In all of his works, his true heart shines through brilliantly. He grew up believing that freedom. independence, and social values do not grow on trees. They are won at the price of a social struggle--with the artist very much part of it. We may not always agree with his art and his underlying philosophy--but we absolutely admire that courage that coats his paper canvas. The artist has found his true calling.

                                                                                                      Noel A. Albano, Journalist

                                                    Maestrang Kumain ng Sarling Bituka
                                                    Printed on Pigment Archival Ink, 1998

                                                     Orasang Walang Kamay
                                                      Printed on Pigment Archival Ink, 1998

                                                       The Media Activist
                                                       Printed on Pigment Archival Ink, 1998

                                                      The American Dream
                                                      Printed on Pigment Archival Ink, 1998
Gising Bayan, Bukas Tayo'y Lalaban
                                                       Printed on Pigment Archival Ink, 1986

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