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BPI PRESENTS

Ayala Tower One Fountain Area

Nune Alvarado

Once Upon A Time In Negros

Nunelucio Alvarado, according to one of his prominent collectors Kim Atienza, “deserves a chapter in the book of art in

About the Artist

Nunelucio Alvarado, according to one of his prominent collectors Kim Atienza, “deserves a chapter in the book of art in the Philippines if ever one gets published.” Such estimation of the master from Negros Occidental is near universal. Still working and giving back to his community in Sagay City where he runs a gallery and a café in his residence visited by people who want to talk shop about art, Alvarado has been instrumental in establishing a robust and sustainable art scene outside of Metro Manila. 

The artist came of age during Martial Law. He was the main chronicler of the life of the sacadas, the contractual sugarcane workers whose plight encapsulated the height of oppression and social injustice in the 1970s. Stout, swaddled in layers of fabric meant to prevent sunburn, and clenching agricultural tools like weapons, they dominate the pictorial plane, their gaze fixed at the viewer and seething with rage. It was also during this time that he co-founded Black Artists of Asia, an organization that gathered like-minded artists with a strong social commitment.

In the 1990s, Alvarado became one of the most successful artists—critically and commercially. He won first prize twice for what eventually would be known as the Philippine Art Awards. Soon he was exhibiting internationally, in important art institutions and festivals, such as the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, USA; the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo, Japan; and the First Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art in Queensland Art Gallery, Australia. At the turn of the 21st century, Alvarado started expanding his repertoire to include still lifes, mother-and-child figures, and genre scenes, but still painted with his rigorous style characterized by strong outlines, front-facing images, and hierarchical perspective.

At 71, he is now considered as one of the grand old men of Negrense visual arts, placid in his seaside home, welcoming those who want to learn from him. Recently he was featured in a documentary, Kalibutan ni Nunelucio Alvarado (The World of Nunelucio Alvarado), which was shown last year at the Viva Excon. Directed by the artist’s daughter-in-law, Candy Nagrampa, the film was prompted by Alvarado’s wistful statement that the world has forgotten him. As what this show for the art fair testifies, his celebratory and defiant figuration of the people from the margins endures.

 

Words by Carlomar Daoana


Artworks

Nune Alvarado
Nune Alvarado
Nune Alvarado
Nune Alvarado
Nune Alvarado
Nune Alvarado
Nune Alvarado
Nune Alvarado


ArtFairPH/Projects Artists

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