The exhibit was alloted a space along the passageway of Glorrietta 3 in Makati. A video, Sa Kambas ng Lipunan, was also being shown to a rather large group of passersby. I will update this blog soon to include the texts that accompanied each work. It's going to take some time though, so bear with me. :-)
Joe Velasco first came to the national consciousness with this painting entitled Hapag ng Pagasa (Oil on Canvas, 48" X 96") done in 2005 which portrays 12 children he has met on the streets of Metro Manila. A huge billboard of this work can be seen along Guadalupe, near the San Carlos Seminary.
Let there be peace of Earth (2007). A picture of contradiction. Note wall clock at 3 o'clock position.
Kalakbay (2007). As Joey was finishing this painting, two of his subjects - farmers - in this work were shot to death reflecting the long battle that Filipino farmers have to fight for the right to till their own land.
This is the work that really touched me, Hele (2008). It features three children afflicted by Down's Syndrome, a rather common affliction among children in the Philippines. I have had the chance to live with an adult with this condition and I have seen the love and attention his parents poured over him; their understanding was truly beyond measure. People with Down's may appear detached, but they really are very observant of their surroundings and are often quite intelligent.
In this corner of Hele are these words: "DEUS CARITAS EST, et, qui manet in caritate, in Deo manet, et Deus in eo" representing the second half of 1 John 4:16, "So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him." - the opening lines of Pope Benedict XVI's first encyclical, Deus Caritas Est, released on Christmas of 2005.
Manunubos (2008) is a moving work featuring a family - or a Filipinized Holy Family for that matter - holding court in a garbage dump. There is that ethereal soft light that emanates for the main subjects separating them from the darkness and sadness of their surroundings. Note also the children bearing gifts (see details below).
A loaf of bread, which is sold and seen arranged one on top of each other in stalls and bakeries all over these islands during the Holiday season - a common feature on the Filipino Christmas or New Year table.
Come Take Up Your Cross and Follow Me (2007). A haunting image of Christ holding up a tattered Philippine flag, both a scathing and humbling take on how we have come so low in many aspects - in self respect, in human rights, and in upholding and supporting the culture of life in our country.
Paleta de Sangre (2008). A very interesting story accompanied this work. I think you must go to Velasco's exhibits and read it yourself.
That We May Live (2007). One of the most powerful images in this exhibit, That We May Live draws you the facial expressions of the children carrying Christ's dead body.
Read more about Joey Velasco here, here and here. Special thanks to B.C. for inviting me to this exhibit. You are truly heaven sent.