Hearth: Heritage and Art at the Pablo Antonio Ancestral Home

On June 10, 2017, the Pablo S. Antonio Home opened its very first art exhibition to the public to remember the Architect’s death anniversary (June 14, 1975) and his lasting legacy passed down to those who create, live, and wander within his spaces. 

Entitled HEARTH: Heritage and Art at the Pablo Antonio Home, the group exhibition was a celebration of artistic generations that sprung forward from Antonio’s contribution. Marge C. Enriquez, a columnist for the Philippine Daily Inquirer, noted: “The Pasay City residence of National Artist for Architecture Pablo Antonio has been hearth, home, and atelier to his family of designers, artists, and even chefs.”

The exhibition was curated by Cynthia Estrada and Richad Tuason Sanchez-Bautista.

A display of fine art at the Yellow Room. Image by Joshua Barrera.

Pandy Aviado

The featured artist was Virgilio “Pandy” Aviado, a pioneer in contemporary Philippine printmaking. He used mixed media consisting of charcoal, monoprint, and old stamps to pay homage to the designs and personal memories of the Architect – from the Ideal Theater in Escolta and the emboldened facade of Far Eastern University Manila’s Nicanor Reyes Hall to a recreation of Antonio’s family portrait.

Far Eastern University in the 1980’s by Pandy Aviado. Image by Joshua Barrera.

The works retold Manila’s “La Belle Epoch” era – a period of grandeur, rapid shifts in aesthetic and industry – as images of clear yet fading memories. Aviado brought back beauty and heritage lost as time went on, to raise the question of preserving built-histories among viewers: “Where are the structures today?”

Young Artists

Aviado’s works were joined by paintings and sculptures of young artists in their first exhibition – filling the walls and furnishings of the then-master bedroom-turned-gallery with diverse forms and expressions. Two of the artists were Antonio’s great grandchildren: siblings Joshua Barrera and Hannah Barrera, who both displayed their skills in stylized paintings of summer garden and pop culture themes.

A showcase of emerging artists at the Yellow Room. Images by Joshua Barrera.

While Hannah took on a realistic approach using watercolor, acrylic, and oil to paint film stars from the 1960s and earlier, her older brother Joshua interpreted flowers, trees, and sceneries with an uncanny style fusing pointillism and ethnic-futuristic shapes. 

They were joined by Nigel Villaceran whose seamless metal crafts made from scrap materials reimagined local flora, fauna, and folkloric characters such as the Tikbalang.

Press photo of Hannah Barrera, Joshua Barrera, and Nigel Villaceran. Image by Geoffrey Tan.

A New Beginning

With more than half of the works going to new homes, its success further inspired the family and community to continue art projects in efforts to support the house. The Pablo S. Antonio Home formalized its role as an art space – starting a new chapter in its history.

The exhibition ran until mid-September 2017, a few days before a second installment at the end of the month.

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