Triple Cultural Treat for Filipinos in Northern Italy with Exhibits

Left photo: Mark Justiniani, featured artist, and Tessa Maria Guazon, curator, answer questions from the media and the public at the press conference to open the Philippine Pavillion entitled Island Weather at the 58th Arte Biennale in Venice. Right photo: National Artist and NCCA Chair Virgilio Almario welcomes guests and viewers to the Philippine Pavilion during its opening on May 8, 2019. (Milan PCG photo)

Milan — As the Filipino nation celebrates National Heritage Month in May, overseas Filipino in Northern Italy got a triple treat through a series of exhibits in Corbetta, Milan and Venice featuring the works of Filipino artists.

“It is a wonderful coincidence that these exhibit are taking place in the month of May when we celebrate National Heritage Month. It is a triple cultural treat for the Filipino community in Northern Italy,” Consul General to Milan Irene Susan Natividad remarked.

Kicking off the celebration was Richard Gabriel’s exhibit La Mie Due Patrie (My Two Homelands) on May 4, 2019 in the City of Corbetta.

Left photo: Members of the Filipino community and local Italian art enthusiasts attend the opening of the exhibit “Living Earth: Contemporary Philippine Art” at the Musica Arte Cultura in Milan. The exhibit features the works of Leon Pacunayan, Mark Justiniani and 25 other contemporary Filipino artists. Center: Dr. Joven Cuanang, art patron and founder of Pinto Art Museum in Antipolo addresses the crowd during the opening of the exhibit. Right photo: Consul General Natividad listens to watercolor artist Leon Pacunayen, 84, whose art pieces from private collections were on display. (Milan PCG photo)

Mr. Gabriel, who hails from Pampanga and moved to Italy to study art, was conferred the Bagong Bayani Award (Arts) for Outstanding Filipinos Overseas in 2007. His exhibit features sculptures of carabao horns to represent the land of his birth and shoe sculptures to depict the fashion capital, Italy, his second home.

This was followed by the opening of an impressive collection of art works organized by Pinto International at the Musica Arte Cultura (MAC) in Milan on May 6, 2019. Entitled “Living Earth: Contemporary Philippine Art,” the exhibit features the works of Leon Pacunayen, Mark Justiniani and 25 other contemporary Filipino artists.

Left photo: Sculptor Richard Gabriel of Pampanga (second from left) pose with Cultural Councilor Guiliano Gubert, Corbetta Mayor Marco Ballarini (with sash) and Consul General Irene Susan Natividad at the opening of his exhibit La Due Mie Patrie (My Two Homelands) in Corbetta on May 4, 2019. Right photo: Sculptures of carabao horns and shoes in fiber glass, ceramics and other materials are the main pieces on exhibit. (Milan PCG photo)


The much talked about installations at the Philippine Pavilion uses mirrors to create illusions of breadth and depth. Viewers are invited to stand atop three huge platforms to peer into objects and structures representative of Philippine life and history. (Milan PCG photo)

A pioneer of modernism, Mr. Pacunayen has earned numerous awards and recognition for his work.  He has exhibited in the Philippines and in Italy where he spent a great part of his career. Now in his 80’s, he continues to paint in his home in Puglia.

Members of the Filipino community then trooped to Venice on May 8, 2019 for the opening of the Philippine pavilion at the 58th Art Biennale.

The Philippine Pavilion was curated by Prof. Tessa Maria Guazon with Mr. Justiniani as participating artist. Mr. Justiniani plays with mirrors to create illusions and perceptions across three huge platforms depicting snippets our story as a nation and people.

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