Rodel Tapaya: Prism and Parallelism at Ben Cab Museum

1Rodel Tapaya, General Manuk, 2011, acrylic on canvas, 48x36 inches. Rodel Tapaya recalls the Filipino legend of "angry birds" who attempted to launch a coup d' etat against the god Gugurang. As told in the story, when they failed to wrest power, these feathered rebels were then turned into chickens.


The ancient and current congregate in Rodel Tapaya’s latest solo exhibition which will open on 25th February 2012 at the Ben Cab Museum in Baguio City. The exhibition pieces together long-treasured folklores that hold unique representations of mythological heroes and indigenous fable characters in beautiful compositions that are as dense and complex as the originating text. The works evoke the hard work, imagination, and inventiveness that went into the beliefs and dreams of our ancestors which occasionally re-appear in the present or confront us with their appending culture and contexts fading in contemporary reality. The exhibition thus draws the serious and lighthearted tales in a manner that gives suggestion rather than conclusion on current social ills and issues.

The figures in the painting reference an era lost in the murk beyond history evinced in the meticulous paintings that yields us the distraught faces of ancient demi-gods and other archetypal heroes. The stories depicted become parallel to the fates of present-day events and people through Rodel Tapaya’s subtle insertions of contemporary images. The paintings immortalize, as it conjures in tableaus, fame and folly, set against the painted prism of their backgrounds, where these tales pass through as if holding the events forever in suspense. They shed light into the countless figures that have fuelled ancient imagination of its mystery which the painter, with his unique place in the young contemporary art, paints as if he were painting the present.

Rodel Tapaya was born in Montalban, Rizal, Philippines in 1980 and studied painting at the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts, as well as at the Parsons School of Design in New York and the University of Art and Design in Helsinki. Recent solo exhibitions include Visions of Lore, Galerie Caprice-Horn, Berlin (2012) Bulaklak ng Dila, Vargas Museum, Manila (2011); This Beast I Have Become, Y++ Gallery, Beijing (2011). He has been included in numerous notable international art fairs and expositions. With a young career belted with numerous accolades, he is widely regarded as one of Southeast Asia’s most active artists. The Ben Cab museum will host the first solo exhibition in the country outside Metro Manila of the celebrated Filipino painter, Rodel Tapaya, whose paintings often draw from native folklore of the Northern Philippines. Among such works, “Baston ni Kabunian, Bilang pero di mabilang,” won the Asia-Pacific Breweries Foundation Signature Art Prize in 2011. Thirteen medium-sized acrylic on canvasses will be on view at the Indigo Gallery, Ben Cab Museum, Baguio City from 25 February 2012 to 12 April 2012, with an opening reception on Sunday, 25th of February.

For more information, please contact Ben Cab Museum by phone: +63 (74) 442-7165.
For image and press requests, please contact bencabartfoundation@gmail.com
Transportation Access

Car: 15-minute drive from Baguio City center.
Public transport: Jeep to Asin from jeepney terminal near Baguio market.
Museum hours:
Open daily except Mondays, Christmas Day & New Year’s Day
from 9:00am to 6:00pm (last entry at 5:30pm)
Admission to the Museum:
General: PHP 100.00
Students and senior citizens with valid ID: PHP 80.00
Special rates for student groups with prior arrangement.

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