FOR THEIR second exhibit of the year, the Gintong SuSi Art Organization brings their audience to the historic city of Pasig. This time, however, only a few members expressed passion for a less personal theme.

The theme Pasig: Daluyan ng Kulay, the exhibit depicts feelings, sentiments, and impressions on the historical river that this generation seems to have forgotten. Employing various media and styles, the young artists paid homage not only to the river that was once the lifeblood of Manila, but also to one of the region’s more progressive cities today.

“We came here and looked for someone who really knew Pasig, not only its history, but also its culture, myths, and the life that is really Pasig,” said Chantily Tan, an Advertising sophomore. “A lot of us, even our members from Pasig, are not really knowledgeable about both the river and city.”

Gintong SuSi president Jade Kyla Ocinar, a Pasig native, wanted to bring Pasig to the limelight. “Gusto kong makilala ng mga Tomasino ang Pasig, at gusto ko ring ipagmalaki sa Pasig ang galing ng mga Tomasino,” she told the Varsitarian.

Set in the Pasig Museum (an old colonial mansion that is now local government property), the exhibit is a showcase of young and fresh art.

The painted tree trunk in the middle of the room is a definite stand-out. While most of the artists used the conventional canvas, Advertising freshman Karla Bugayong chose the huge trunk to carry her expression. Almost surreal with graceful black and white figures, the piece alludes to the mythical Mutya of the Pasig River.

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Then there is the painting of Paz, the fair maiden from whose name sprung the word Pasig. Seated in a boat, the figure’s delicate face is contorted with sadness and pain. Artist Alvin Cayco, a third-year Advertising student, said the young lady is said to have been the object of a Spanish official’s affection. The couple loved to spend time idly rowing on the clear waters of the river. One ill-fated day, the Spaniard fell overboard, and, not knowing how to swim, he drowned. His last words, “Paz, sig…” were supposed to continue to a Spanish phrase that means “Paz, save me.” The piece is heavy on emotions, and Cayco did not fail to capture them with the dark and looming setting.

Cayco’s other painting features a group of children playing with spiders, a game which he claimed to be one of the “most Filipino.” Remarkable is its vivid imagery that verges on photorealism.

Painting freshman Romeo Abasolo Jr., admits to being a fan of photorealism, and shows it with his work “Pasig Church.” Inspiration came after he saw an old painting of the church, and he wanted to create an updated version. He came to Pasig one day to sketch, but was forced to just take pictures by an incessant, watching crowd. Compared to the old painting, Abasolo’s version is complete with telephone and electric lines, passers-by, and a jeepney. One could easily mistake his work for a blown-up photograph, but closer examination reveals deft brushstrokes. He plans to donate his painting to the museum, perhaps to inspire another artist to depict the church in another era.

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A happier and more colorful place seems to be Maria Paula Pangan’s vision for Pasig. Unlike most watercolors with vague and less detailed figures, her Ang Tulay sa Mundo na Nakalimot at sa Mundo ng Nakaalala is bright, cheerful, and optimistic. The repetitive patterns of Tan’s Tampisaw sa Dapithapon give way to a vivid depiction of the Mutya ng Pasig in her afternoon swim.

Ocinar’s three-paneled painting, “Ang Pagdapo,” meanwhile, is a surreal, mysterious piece. Depicting a majestic butterfly-winged woman holding a sphere, it is almost a picture of homecoming and paying tribute to one’s native land.

The exhibit not only shows the artists’ talents, but also conveys a special message. According to Ocinar, the group aims to bring awareness to neglected sites through the medium they know best—art. One can find the legacy of our ancestors in Pasig, and it is apparent that it can inspire to create art that is truly Filipino. These young artists wanted to give something back to Pasig, and judging their artworks, they aptly expressed the gratitude it deserves.

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