THE LENTEN state of mind was translated into different media as 111 artists collaborated for the seventh annual Kristo Manila art exhibit held at the Megamall Art Center from March 23 to April 8.

Themed “So Be It,” this year’s exhibit included, aside from painting, photography, digital art, and sculpture. Among the participants were UST alumni Daniel Aligaen, Salvador Ching, Thomas Daquioag, Anna de Leon, Dante Lerma, Jomike Tejido, and Pinggot Zulueta. Works of Thomasian artists based in other countries such as London-based Yveese Belen and Singapore-based Wilfredo Offemaria, Jr. were also displayed. International editorial cartoonist Deng Coy Miel also joined this year’s exhibit. Works by Varsitarian’s art director Carla Gamalinda, photography editor Jilson Tiu, and photographer Sherwin Vardeleon were also exhibited.

Delan Robillos, director of the Manila-based visual arts and literary group Artery Manila and co-organizer of the exhibit, noted the unprecedented number of artists who participated this year. Compared to last year’s exhibit which featured only 40 artists, this year’s exhibition brought in a more diverse collection of religious art. He stressed that the exhibit aimed to serve as an alternative venue for meditation and communication with God during the Holy Week.

“The reason why we have devotions is that they’re human ways of communicating with God,” Robillos said. “However, devotions must not border on fanaticism.”

Aligaen’s “You’re the One for Me, You’re My Ecstasy, You’re the One I Need” was a canvas-on-wood that depicted Jesus Christ wearing a crown of thorns and surrounded by a subtle glow. The word “amen” is set in bold above Christ’s head. Below it is a hand bearing a thumbs-up sign. Completing the portrayal is the phrase “science is myth” on the bottom right of the canvas.

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Tiu’s photography piece, “Ama,” showed an old woman leaning by the doorway of what seems to be an old house. Donning a grey dress and with her arms crossed, the old woman looks to the camera with a forlorn expression.

On the other hand, De Leon’s “Thy Will Be Done” is a mixed-media painting in different shades of pastel. The artwork portrays the Agony in the Garden.

Daquioag presented a unique portrait of Jesus Christ in “Ang Superhero.” Shown with His back against the audience and nailed on the cross, Jesus Christ wears a red cape and leather latex torn from His lashings.

Tejido depicted the Virgin Mary praying solemnly with his “Rosa Mystica.” Accentuating the serene rendering is his trademark banig canvas.

In Gamalinda’s “Paper Cranes,” cartoon-like human figures rendered in various tones of light green gather around a focal point in worship and jubilation.

Meanwhile, Lerma’s “Amen of the Angels” shows two angels facing each other while holding a cross. The word “amen” is inscripted on the cross, symbolizing their adoration and devotion.

“The exhibit’s theme prompted me to use angels as images in my art work, they being powerful representations of unquestioning obedience and subservience to God’s will,” Lerma said. “The Cross symbolizes Christ who gave the supreme sacrifice in obedience to the Father thus earning for us all the ticket to salvation.” MARIANNE S. LASTRA

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