Celebrating the best of the Filipino, His Art, Our Heart: Amorsolo Retrospective captures the values Filipinos should always be reminded of. A phenomenal project organized and strongly supported by various groups in different industries, in the hope of reliving a sense of Filipino pride for our rich culture, history, and people.
The Department of Tourism is actively part of this meaningful endeavor to remember one of the most influential Filipino artists of all time. And this reminder is important in breathing fresh hope for looking at our country through the eyes and the handwork of Fernando Amorsolo.
Tourism Secretary Ace Durano is enthusiastic about the DOT's participation in the retrospective. "Our first national artist truly paved the way in making us see the beauty of our country's 7,107 islands. His paintings retell the events of the past that we can all learn from," he said.
Through this huge campaign, the Department hopes to spread the vision that a country with people who love and understand their nationhood is the best quality to attract others to visit.
The tourism chief added, "The industry is very much supportive of this endeavor as it hopes to spark a growing interest and reawakening for our own history and culture."
Executive Director Evelyn Lim-Forbes is convinced that "It is a multi-layered movement to strengthen a sense of pride and dignity of the Filipino people. Amorsolo's works rekindle our love for our own and reminds us of the values we should never forget as a people. His works showed that the Filipinos can weather dismal times, and through this, grow together."
Amorsolo's works highlight various facets of our stories as a nation; community life coupled with a deep sense of dignity for hard work; the collective strength of our people showed in how our elders and the nation fared in the face of tragedy.
Fernando Amorsolo was known for his illuminated landscapes; his timeless capturing of Filipino barrio life that was integral in building a 'sense of nation' for our countrymen. His works are timeless reminders of the importance of Filipino values.
Art critic Santiago Albano Pilar said it so succinctly in the Amorsolo Retrospective catalogue, "A visitor from another country will probably not fully absorb the actual spiritual or emotional intent of Amorsolo's themes, but he or she will soon learn to distinguish the attractive tell-tale marks and even the merits of his expression…" His style has been characterized by his vivid interpretation of Philippine landscapes; a colourful portrayal of the Filipino community.
Undersecretary Eduardo Jarque, Jr., Undersecretary for Tourism Planning and Promotions, agreed very much to this remark. "Fernando Amorsolo, through his celebrated works, reminds us of the importance of looking within us to remember who we are; our values as a people and the traits that make us unique from the rest of the world," he said.
Undoubtedly the most distinguished and the most popular artist of the Philippines in the twentieth century, Amorsolo was known as the "painter of Philippine sunlight" because his works captured the brilliance and shimmer of the Philippine sun. He also painted the glow from within – Filipino values, character, and soul.
His genre paintings that feature women draw inspiration from the lives of ordinary folk, portraying their industry, integrity, and resilience. The important theme of nationhood as embodied by his portrayal of the Filipino woman will be portrayed in Amorsolo's Women Conceal and Revealed, at the Ayala Museum.
The GSIS Museum exhibition aptly entitled, SALIW: Rituals in Amorsolo's Art, features his masterpieces that deftly capture the uniqueness of Filipino character in various ritual settings, not only the spiritual but also the secular day-to-day rituals that reflect Filipino culture.
In Tell-Tale: The Artist as Storyteller, Amorsolo as Co-Author, on-going at the Lopez Museum, highlights his humor in expressing his perspectives on pressing issues during his time.
Another in-depth look at his most-prized works are on show at the Metropolitan Museum of Manila, entitled bayANInanding: The Motherland and the Harvest of Maestro Amorsolo. His landscapes and genre paintings that depict the cycle of rice production and consumption, and the local traditions and lifestyle this engenders. The exhibit looks into the shared fundamentality of rice and Amorsolo in Philippine society.
Days of Drawing, Portraits of Passage, on-going at the National Museum of the Filipino people, highlight an angle of the artistic practice of Amorsolo through drawings, portraits, and memorabilia. The exhibition at the UP Vargas Museum entitled Capturing Anxieties: Amorsolo, His Contemporaries and Pictures of War, focuses on how Filipinos withstood conflict, while Mukhang Tsinoy: Portraits by Fernando Amorsolo, is a unique collection of his works on portraiture.
"His works are still relevant to Filipinos today, for they reflect the timeless beauty of the country's landscapes, the value of hard work, and a shared expression of being one in the community. Through his masterpieces, we get a glimpse of the Philippines through his eyes. From these valuable lessons from the past, we have reason to look to a bright future ahead and together strengthen our country's sense of place, "Jarque explained.
DOT's active participation in this unprecedented campaign to promote the best of the Filipino through Amorsolo's art is significant and integral not only in its marketing efforts to promote the Philippines abroad. It carries a much deeper meaning of promoting love and appreciation of the country to Filipinos themselves.
His Art, Our Heart: Amorsolo Retrospective is currently running until April 2009 in the mentioned major galleries. The exhibitions are also for the benefit the CRIBS Foundation, the participating museums, and the Fernando Amorsolo Art Foundation.
The Department believes that seeing his works encourages looking beyond and visiting the actual places, the warm people, and the unique culture that inspired his priceless pieces. Filipinos only need to look deeper to appreciate the best things in the country.
"After all, the best way to encourage other people to come visit the Philippines is to make it a country you would love to visit yourself," Jarque noted.