Posted by July 11, 2009on
Last Thursday, I was able to join a media tour to the house where National Artist Carlos “Botong” Francisco once lived.
Carlos “Botong” Francisco was one of the greatest Filipino visual artists and muralists, best known for his vibrant, sprawling murals specially commissioned by the Malacañang Palace, Manila City Hall, Philippine General Hospital and Fort Santiago.
His masterpieces include the Malacañang mural “Fiesta”, “Code of Kalantiao (private collection), “Blood Compact” (Yuchengco Museum / RCBC Building), “First Mass at Limasawa” (National Museum), “The Martyrdom of Rizal” (Fort Santiago), “Bayanihan sa Bukid,” “Stations of the Cross” (Far Eastern University), “The Invasion of Limahong,” “Serenade,” and “Muslim Betrothal.”
Botong was also a multidisciplinary artist, working in the movies as a scriptwriter and production designer.
But more than anything, Botong was an artist who addressed the issue of national identity. Yet, despite his great impact on Philippine art, his works have grown obscure to the younger generations of Filipinos.
Part of the house has now been converted into a museum which cntains some sketches and memorabilia owned by the National Artist. Another section of the house has also been converted into an art gallery for Botong Francisco’s grandson, Carlos “Totong” Francisco II.
The museum houses an impressive collection of Botong Francisco’s sketches, old magazines, photos and some gifts from friends.
From there we then head to the house of Mr. Salvador Juban who was once his apprentice. Mr. Juban was able to retell his story with the art master citing a few anecdotes which we all love to listen. We got to visualize who Botong Francisco is from the point of view of somebody who has directly worked with him.
The art gallery also has a good collection of painting currently on display.
To rekindle interest in Botong Francisco, Vibal Foundation, Inc. (VFI) introduces a new addition to its Art Series of imprints: The Life and Art of Carlos V. Francisco.
The Life and Art of Carlos V. Francisco is set to be launched at the National Museum on Aug. 19, alongside another VFI Art Series title, Francisco V. Coching, which chronicles the milieu of the popular komiks illustrator, also edited by Flores, and accompanied by the full-color republication of Coching’s masterpiece work “El Indio.”
An exhibit, entitled “Telling Modern Time,” accompanies the launch and showcases a focused view of Botong and Coching’s works in the popular context.
The Botong and Coching books follow VFI’s first Art Series release in 2008, Fabian de la Rosa and His Times.
Listen to Salvador Juban as he recalls his life experiences with Botong Francisco:
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