Some of Feleo’s works showcased in the exhibit were “Maskarang Totoo,” (left) and “Bad Bananas” (right). Photo courtesy of Clickthecity.com

TOWARD the last months of his life, the actor Juan Marasigan Feleo, popularly known as “Johnny Delgado,” turned to painting to satisfy his craving for self-expression. The visual arts also offered him a form of therapy in his struggle with cancer of the lymph node.

The Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), with Pixel Grain, held an exhibit to pay tribute to the actor-visual artist.

“Maskarang Totoo: the Works of Juan Feleo” was displayed July 10 to 20 at the CCP’s Pasilyo Guillermo Tolentino Hallway. The event was on the sidelights of the recently concluded Cinemalaya Festival, where the actor was a member of the screening committee.

An alumnus Faculty of Arts and Letters, Delgado was the chairman and president of the Actor’s Workshop foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated in honing the acting skills of its students through workshops. He was also the husband of the actress-director Laurice Guillen, the competition director of Cinemalaya and father of actress Ina Feleo. In addition, Delgado’s painting career was mentored by former Varsitarian art director Danny Dalena.

Delgado’s acting prowess has been celebrated in movies Tanging Yaman (2000) and Kaldedo (2007) where he garnered the FAMAS best actor award in both movies.

His personal life and career throughout the decades reigned as the subject of his works. He also depicted his fellow actors using symbolisms as Lorna Tolentino, for example, is shown as a butterfly.

His works are characterized by rough and edgy strokes, almost naif and simplistic in details.

His painting, entitled “Bad Bananas” is obviously named after the 1980’s gag show “Going Bananas.” It shows Delgado with his with co-actors Jay Ilagan, Christopher de Leon and Edgar Mortiz.

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Many of Feleo’s works portray him along with his wife Guillen, which is evident of his love for his wife.

“Six Feet Under,” is yet another self portrait that illustrates himself being buried underground which may be an indication of his acceptance to whatever may happen to him in the near future.

“I am the film that I make. My paintings are the memory of my senses,” was Johnny Delgado’s general description to his works.

During his final treatment in mid-October, Delgado had decided to sign all of his works, whether they are finished or not. He had then met his demise on November 19, 2009 due to Lymphoma.

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