#ArtsPH - Gateway Gallery Celebrates Non-Conventional Art with Mangha-Likha

(L-R) Gari Apolonio, Curator of Gateway Gallery; Exhibit Curator Mary Ann Venturina-Bulanadi; Prof. Felipe de Leon, former NCCA Chairman; Tess Rayos del Sol, Head of National Committee on Art Galleries of NCCA; and Christine Diane Romero, Executive Director, J. Amado Araneta Foundation and Gateway Gallery’s Mangha-Likha Official Event Announcement

Gateway Gallery opened its in-house exhibition, Mangha-Likha: Defying Art Conventions, on August 16, 2023.  Mangha-Likha takes a deeper look into the practice of using unconventional mediums and non-traditional techniques of art-making in the Philippines as a way to highlight, celebrate, and engage in further discussions.

Mangha-Likha is a celebration of the artistry of eight Filipino artists who defy the idea of art as academic, formal, traditional, Western, and mainstream. The group exhibition is funded through a grant by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and the National Committee on Art Galleries.  Conceptualized by Gateway Gallery Curator Gari Apolonio in 2021 at the height of the pandemic, Mangha-Likha was initially designed as a national art competition for a tuberculosis campaign. 

Apolonio and the J. Amado Araneta Foundation, Inc. team applied for it as an art exhibition grant with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. Once approved, Apolonio and the Gateway Gallery team worked with Curator Mary Ann Venturina-Bulanadi, Ph.D. to realize the vision of the exhibit. 

Bulanadi engaged with the eight selected artists, retrieving their backstories and their artistic vision. With her probing, Bulanadi was able to extract the essence of their art-making and searched for their timeliness and relevance in contemporary society.

The eight artists, who produced new works solely for the exhibition, include Tet Aligaen, Gilbert Angeles, Mai Pimentel De Dios Percival Denolo, Sasha Garcia, Jordan Bulanit Mang-Osan, Marvel Obemio, and Noel Quidlat. Each artist presents a mini-exhibit of their latest works while presenting their background and story.

Tess Ureta Aligaen is a needlework artist who uses different kinds of fabric with varying patterns and colors using embroidery techniques. Gilbert Calderon Angeles creates eco-paintings using plastic laminates of ground shampoo sachets. Percival Denolo is the mud artist who gained national renown with his Pilipinas Got Talent exposure. Mai Pimentel De Dios uses discarded palochina as her healing canvas, having survived a cancer episode. 

Sasha Garcia stitches her life using thread on repurposed fabric. Jordan Mang-Osan, the solar artist, harnesses the power of the sun to create culture-based images from the Cordillera. Marvel Obemio is big on recycling; using pull tabs and other discarded plastics to create intriguing pieces. Noel Quidlat went viral for creating three-dimensional portraits through masking tape and backlight.

Mangha-Likha therefore goes back to the core of what art is and could be. As it combines the marginal and the marginalized in the present environment, the exhibit seeks to relay a strong message on sustainability, inclusivity, equality, solidarity, ecological balance, and recycling, while promoting the values of courage, resilience, determination, resourcefulness, and originality.

The exhibit opened on August 16, 2023 with Guests of Honor Prof. Felipe de Leon, former Chairman of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, Tess Rayos del Sol, the Head of the National Committee on Art Galleries under NCCA, and Christine Diane Romero, the Executive Director of the J. Amado Araneta Foundation.

Mangha-Lika is supported by the J. Amado Araneta Foundation and runs until September 18, 2023. The Exhibit reach is amplified with a published catalog and a video tour of the Exhibit which will be uploaded soon on the Gateway Gallery YouTube Channel.

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