Books & Art

A Private Tour of Pinto Art Museum with Founder Dr. Joven Cuanang

Gallery 7 is Pinto's space dedicated to contemporary art.
IMAGE Mario Alvaro Limos
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Last month, the Pinto Art Museum in Antipolo opened Gallery 7, its largest gallery dedicated to contemporary art.

Pinto Art Museum is a sprawling complex with galleries and open air spaces where nature and art are seamless. The museum traces its roots back to the 1980s when its founder, Dr. Joven Cuanang, became a supporter of practicing artists in the region and earned a reputation as a patron of the Filipino artistic community. Under his wing, a group of then-unknown artists called Salingpusa flourished.

Pinto Art Museum's Gallery 7

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Photo by Mario Alvaro Limos.

Today, Salingpusa's members are among the country’s most respected artists: Rolly Acuna, Elmer Borlongan, Karen Flores, Emmanuel Garibay, Mark Justiniani, Antonio Leano, Erwin Leano, Joy Mallari, Neil Manalo, Andy Orencio, Jim Orencio, Vincent Paul Padilla, Anthony Palomo, Mikel Parial, Jose Santos III, and Geronimo Tapales.

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“I am very fond of the so-called ‘rebels,’” shares Cuanang, describing the artists behind some of Gallery 7’s most subversive and thought-provoking pieces. “You observe their artworks and they make you think. Despite some of the artworks being made many years ago, the pieces still resonate and have relevance today. They are timeless.”

Dr. Joven Cuanang at Gallery 7 of Pinto Art Museum

Photo by Mario Alvaro Limos.
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While giving us a tour of his new gallery, the Harvard-trained 80-year-old neurologist can’t help but smile whenever young people pose for selfies in front of the artworks.

“You know, I’ve heard a lot of people criticizing Millennials for taking pictures and posing for selfies in front of the artworks instead of, you know, appreciating the pieces in plain view,” he says.

“I’m perfectly fine with people taking selfies here. I’ve noticed that, when young people take a selfie in front of an artwork, it’s because that’s their favorite piece. It speaks to them. And when you ask, they would have a lot of things to say about that particular work. They are very observant.”

The art patron stands between Linds Lee's 'Rest in Peace of Mind' (left) and 'Our Daily Bread.' 

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And that, for him, is the most important thing about the arts: That they convey a powerful message.

“Every artwork here was chosen on a deliberate decision, not randomly. For me, choosing an artwork should be based on how it speaks to you, how it makes you feel or think.”

Standout Pieces from Pinto Art Museum's Gallery 7

As chief patron of the arts, Dr. Cuanang has no favorite piece of artwork. "Everything is different and unique, and speaks to you in different ways," he says. While touring the expansive Gallery 7 at Pinto Art Museum, these artworks caught our attention. 

Installation by Nilo Ilarde

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'Atang For Sheeba, Urea, Tom Petty & George' by Robert Langenegger

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"Do Not Plant Bitterness" by Pam Yan Santos

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Artwork by Guerrero Habulan

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'There's a Bird on the Head' by Linds Lee

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'Differential Survival' by Shannah Orencio

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'Pretty Ballads Hide Bastard Truths' by Miles Villanueva

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'Inside a Rabbit Hole' by Alab Pagarigan

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Photo by Mario Alvaro Limos.

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Photo by Mario Alvaro Limos.

Photo by Mario Alvaro Limos.

Photo by Mario Alvaro Limos.
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Photo by Mario Alvaro Limos.

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Photo by Mario Alvaro Limos.

Pinto Art Museum is at 1 Sierra Madre Street, Grand Heights Subdivision, San Roque, Antipolo City, Rizal. The museum is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m from Tuesday to Sunday. Admission fee is at P200.

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Mario Alvaro Limos
Features Editor, Esquire Philippines
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