2018 Vargas Museum Art History Series Exhibition
Exhibition Run: 10 April – 9 May 2018
Opening Reception: 14 April, Saturday at 4pm
The exhibition follows through the Art History Series that tries to curate works of the Vargas Museum according to art-historical methods. Earlier efforts zeroed in on the thematic, monographic, and diachronic approaches.
This fourth iteration focuses on the work Christmas Eve, painted by Emilio Santiago, dated 1942. It stages a scene in a Philippine house during the Japanese period (1942-1945) in which a mother attends to a child sound asleep. Around them are objects that allude to the various colonial cultures inhabiting a common space on the eve of Christmas: a Catholic crèche; a Japanese lamp; a Filipino lantern; an English-language book, a bicycle, and toys. The tableau speaks to a Philippine milieu that has been significantly shaped by colonial life and at the same time condensing in a mixed environment of material affinities.
The approach to this exhibition is a study of a single work and the ways by which it implicates a range of visual resources from art and popular culture: paintings, magazines, journals, gazettes, Christmas cards, photographs, and so on.
The approach allows the art historian or any student of art to diligently mine the materiality of the work: the artist, the art world, the image, the ramifications of image.
Emilio Santiago (b. 1895), according to the art historian Santiago Pilar was a painter, sculptor, and engraver. According to Pilar: “During Santiago’s elementary schooling, he was importuned by his classmates for sketches and clay figures. He took up high school at the Liceo de Manila. At the U.P. School of Fine Arts, he graduated in Engraving and Modeling in 1915. He served as decorator for the Santa Clara Lumber Company; as instructor for the U.P. School of Fine Arts; as creator of monuments such as that of Andres Bonifacio at Plaza Guipit, Sampaloc; as ornamentor for the Legislative Building, the Jones Bridge, the Agriculture and Commerce Buildings, and many other edifices; and as designer of medals. Santiago has won several first prizes at painting exhibits and has had several works reproduced on the cover of the Graphic. His Balagtas, Ama ng Wika, a bust, was found at the National Gallery of Art and History before World War II.”
Christmas Eve, Emilio G. Santiago, 1942 runs at the 3F Galleries until 9 May 2018.