Arts & Culture

Culture Hit List: Danilo Dalena's Last Full Show

This exhibit marks the end of CCP's Visual Arts Program for 2016 and features a semi-recluse artist.
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DANILO DALENA'S "LAST FULL SHOW"

WHEN TO GO: On view from December 10, 2016 to March 5, 2017 at the Third and Fourth Floor Galleries of the Cultural Center of the Philippines. For more information, contact the CCP Visual Arts & Museum Division at 832.1125 local 1504/1505; [email protected]; culturalcenter.gov.ph.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: The final exhibit in the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ 2016 Visual Arts program sports a perfectly apt title: “Last Full Show.” Featuring the semi-reclusive artist Danilo Dalena. Born in 1942, Dalena rose to prominence in artistic circles in the early 1970s with his stinging political cartoons for the Philippine Free Press. He achieved greater fame with his grimy portrayal of everyday characters, national pastimes, and events, particularly with the Jai-Alai series (1974-1979), the Quiapo paintings (circa late 1970s), and the Alibangbang series (1980).  In his hometown of Pakil, Laguna, Dalena’s home has become a shrine of sorts, sought out by fans of his art as well as by art students who wish to study the techniques the artist employed to bring life to his canvases.

WHAT TO CHECK OUT: It can be seen as a continuation of his last career survey (at the time, the artist implied that it wasn’t quite a retrospective) —held 26 years ago at the same venue. Though Dalena has kept away from the public gaze—by personal choice and partly due to a series of health issues—he has not stopped working as the breadth of the work exhibited at “Last Full Show” will attest. The esteemed art writer Alice Guillermo once noted that some of Dalena’s favorite topics included “the shadowy night denizens and to the down and out habitués of betting halls and beer joints,” while in the current exhibit the CCP points out the artist’s “affinity with scatological and repellant,” and directs us to look at his still unfinished series of images featuring “unseemly acts and antics in seedy movie houses.”

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