FOLK motifs in bright colors highlighting the buoyant Filipino spirit were the subject of Alexander “Aljo” Pingol’s exhibit, Buhay Pinoy at Galerie Joaquin in Podium in Ortigas Aug. 25 to Sept. 3.

Drawing from his childhood memories, Pingol depicted Filipino life with optimism and vibrancy. An Advertising Arts alumnus of UST, he is strongly influenced by Marc Chagall and Pablo Picasso. He described his work as “folk motifs brushed in naïf style in the light of spiritual guidance.”

But rejecting the agnosticism of most modern art, Pingol said his art is a product of his strong faith in God. He sought his work to be a poetic expression of moral values, wanting his viewers to see his work as a visual extension of the Bible.

“Nothing is achieved in art by willpower alone. Everything is done through total submission to the Higher Being,” he said.

“Orange Gatherers” is an oil-on-canvas that shows the sense of family that obtains among Filipinos during harvest. In the painting, they are harvesting oranges, a symbol of prosperity.

In a series titled “Golden Afternoon,” street vendors are seen in merriment despite the hardship of life, their happiness stemming from their faith in God.

“Kalesa” features a family riding on a carriage pulled by a white horse, with their goods hitched on top of the seat’s roof, while “Sweet as Cotton Candy,” a mixed media on paper, depicts children clamoring for sweets while a vendor happily gives them her goods.

Painted in a globe-like setting, “Buhay Pinoy” shows various faces of the Filipino: a humble working man, a mother caring for her son, and a tightly-knit family.

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Pingol said however he resists stereotypes.

“I want my works not to be just mere decorations, but something which people can obtain moral values from,” he said.

Pingol has earned numerous achievements for his work, among them the first prize in the National Christmas Card Painting Competition of the Far East Broadcasting Company. Along with fellow Thomasians Edwin Tres Reyes, Jerry Morada, and Dominic Rubio, he helped establish the Guevarra Group of Artists in San Juan.

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