Hundreds of contemporary artworks by young Filipino artists are displayed at a villa on the slope in the Sierra Madre Mountain Range.
Written by Mia Lauengco
Photographed by Ron Mendoza
Additional photos by Guia Galvez and Kathleen Ferrer
“Those of you who appreciate art will always fall in love,” says Dr. Joven Cuanang, a neurologist and owner of the Pinto Art Museum. The former medical director of St. Luke’s Medical Center explains that pausing to admire a piece of art, releases the same hormone when falling in love. This is exactly the experience when visiting the museum. Located in a quiet subdivision in Antipolo, the art repository offers a bird’s eye view of Metro Manila and Rizal province. Almost every corner and space of the gallery is filled with artwork; the museum itself is surrounded by verdant rolling hills.
The Pinto Art Museum in the Silangan Gardens houses Dr. Cuanang’s collection of paintings, sculptures, and other artworks collected through the years. Designed by architect Antonio Leaño, the Ilocano- Mexican inspired architectural complex has whitewashed walls and doorways that reflect the rolling hills and landscape, and strategically positioned stairwells and inclines that turn the entire place into an open and expansive art maze.
Guardian of the Next National Artists
Dr. Cuanang started collecting because of an inclination to be among beautiful things. His first purchase was a Manuel Baldemor book piece. When his collection grew, he thought to share it with the public instead of keeping it to himself. He wanted to cultivate a culture of museum going among Filipinos, especially the youth. He also wants to promote the art of younger Filipino artists, which is why the gallery mainly showcases contemporary works by upcoming artists. He used to invite young artists such as Elmer Borlongan, Mark Justiniani, Manny Garibay, and John Santos (now known as the Salingpusa Group) to his home where they would sketch whatever they wanted. The drawings were hung on the clothesline for Dr. Cuanang’s friends to see and appreciate. This was the first exhibit that the group had, which eventually led to the expansion of the home and gardens as the Pinto Art Museum. Today, their works are displayed at the amphitheater-like main gallery. A huge mural titled Karnabal, which was also created by the young group, hangs here.
Hallways and narrow portals lead to another exhibition space with works of other contemporary artists such as Jim Orencio, Niel Manalo, Alfred Esquillo, and Geraldine Javier among others. Past this is another gallery where a Leeroy New sculpture on the wall catches the eye from afar. Inside this hall are more works by Joven Mansit, Jose Tence Ruiz, and Leeroy New. Dr. Cuanang believes the Pinto Art Museum exhibits the works of future National Artists of the Philippines.
Upholding Precolonial Filipino Art
The Museum of Indigenous Art enshrines “art in its most sophisticated form”. It includes a collection of indigenous jewelries, from headdresses, to necklaces and anklets. There are also textiles in mostly reds and blues with native patterns such as the Pinilian, which has images of two-headed eagles, frogs, and humans. Various sculptures of native rice gods, known as bulol are displayed in the new wing. Gathering pre-colonial relics and documents from indigenous groups of the Philippines and several Southeast Asia communities for this museum is an project of Dr. Cuanang in collaboration with cultural experts Ramon Villegas and Dave Barradas.
In 2015, the museum also launched the fundraising program Wear Abel that encourages the use of the Ilocano abel cloth for clothing and furnishing. Designers such as Len Cabili of Filip +Inna, and Pepito Albert, together with the Gameng Foundation, participated in this event. An Ilocano himself, Dr. Cuanang fully supports the program because aside from promoting the use of their native cloth, the proceeds from the sales and donations will go to selected students who will be taught the abel craft from Ilocano weavers.
Pinto Art Museum is located at 1 Sierra Madre Street, Grand Heights, Antipolo City, Rizal. For more information, phone (2) 697 1015 or e-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org> or <email@example.com>