By Robert Pérez De Tagle | ArtempoNY@gmail.com
It was just in 2018 that the Society of Philippine American Artists, or SPAA, celebrated at the Philippine Center its 25th year of exhibiting member’s works, a milestone that allowed the group and the community at large to appreciate the breadth of its portfolio over the years and to recognize the pioneers of the organization.
Now, from 31 October to 11 November, the SPAA returns to its long-time partner location, the Philippine Center in Manhattan on Fifth Avenue, for what is incontrovertibly not just an ‘annual’ exhibit. For this exhibit, REFLECTIONS & HOPE, comes at an interval between ‘trending to normal’ and the pain and devastation of the last 30 months of the pandemic, both globally and personally.
Zooming to the present from February 2020 allows for healing to either begin or continue. Decidedly, the meanings of our experiences and expressions today are informed strongly by the changes in our lives – whether transitional and hybrid as to work conditions or more enduring changes wrought by disruptions social, economic or political.
SPAA has through the decades welcomed members from New York, New Jersey, DC/Virginia, Vancouver, Toronto, Manila and elsewhere, of diverse professional backgrounds, seasoned practitioners mingling in craft and conversation with new or younger visual creators, in media classic and mixed, on themes from challenging to pastoral and meditative. REFLECTIONS & HOPE is an effort to express what we’ve gone through, our environment and our memory, in moving forward, for the SPAA is itself a work that continues to progress, reflecting our identities as Filipinos, as Filipinos in America, Canada, and elsewhere, as artists evolving and interacting in a diverse environment.
“This exhibit is a snapshot of an in-between time -- between the throes of Corona lockdown, and a new normal. We collect our thoughts on the past and the future and convey them in this space,” says SPAA president Cheryle Cranbourne. “It is more important now than ever that we come together to reflect on this time, remember our departed, celebrate life, and hope for better times.”
Participating artists include Angelo Maristela, Art Zamora, Athena Magcase-Lopez, Carlos Esguerra, Carol Tanjutco, Chato Morando, Cheryle Cranbourne, Ching Valdes-Aran, Chito Maravilla, Delia Laglagaron, Dulcie Dee, Fernando Catague, Joel Francisco, Lenore RS Lim, Mae Palaci, Racco Maristela, Rene Ner, Robert Pérez De Tagle, Roderic D. Rodriguez, Ronald Cortez, Teodoro Lozano De La Santa and Tessie Dichupa.
Special guests include trustee Atty. Dean Suba and businesswoman and community leader Ms. Loida Nicolas Lewis.
We mourn a founding member, Lito David, who passed within the last year.
Other members of SPAA’s board of trustees are Aida Bartolome, Loretta Cranbourne, Dr. Benny Jongco, Atty. Lindy Lachica, Caroline Pinder, Dr. Angie Ricafrente.
Reconnecting in-person allows us to go beyond Zoom virtualization as we engage and evolve in defining meaning in this world after the storm, and the SPAA is determined to play a role in rousing and encouraging the art scene for Philippine-American artists who have been changed for good: stronger, chastened, somber, wistful, thoughtful.
Please join us for the opening reception on 1 November at 6pm. The Philippine Center is located at 556 Fifth Ave. at 46th St., NYC, tel. 212.575.4664; viewing hours are Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm.
Robert P. De Tagle, MBA, IPEAK Services, ArtempoNY@gmail.com, organizes events and supports Fil-Am history and Asian-American cultural events in the Metro New York/New Jersey area, and serves as editorial consultant to various organizations and events. He has collaborated with the Philippine Center/Philippine Embassy and various entities on exhibits and programs, including ‘The Music of Ryan Cayabyab: A Tribute Concert,’ ‘Sonata for Our Heroes: Unsung Fil-Am WWII Heroes’ in NYC and Washington, DC, ‘Dancing with Shrimp,’ ‘The Filipinos of Ellis Island’ and the ‘Joy & Hope’ Kundirana concert.