Arvin Santos, Bayani Galera, Nikko Pelaez | "Valuables"

What is truly valuable in life? A question that may seem simple at first, yet hard to answer when fully grasped to its deepness and essence. Life is such a huge concept with unending, continuous, cyclic or even repetitive elements – in forms of events, people, materials, characters, attitude and meanings. With all these factors, choosing one which matters most could be one of life’s hardest riddle. In this three-man show, artists Arvin Santos, Bayani Galera and Nikko Pelaez shed light to their life’s valuables – the chronicles of their lives that somehow could give their audience an understanding and parcels of their minds and souls – through one of the most valuable thing in their lives right now – their art.

First of the trio is Arvin Santos. Growing up, Arvin have truly treasured the gift of friendship – the memories it has given him, both the good ones and the bad. Meeting variety of people whom he eventually called friends, have given him the inspiration in his series of works for this show. His sweet and good reminiscence with friends is translated in the dominance of bright colors for this series of works alongside the black spots, which is a reminder that not all the time is a good time and bad things are inevitable. Coalescing these recollections of friendship, Arvin chose to give more weight and emphasis on the vibrance of colors of the good memories over the tarnished ones, thus giving birth to these playful, colorful, fun and doodle-like series dedicated to friends he gathered through the years.

On the other hand, Bayani Galera, the second artist of this show, considers education as his most valuable and reinterprets the common phrase “experience is the best form of education”. From his personal encounters, Bayani regards the different forms of education he had, have molded him to be the person he is today, not just intellectually, but more so emotionally strong and socially relevant to whatever life brings him. First form of education Bayani showcases in this show is experience. His reverence to his past and experimental stage as an artist, which for him was an effective teacher on how he was educated to discover his ultimate passion for his art. His new series called “Title Cards” is a series of cryptic oversized artwork labels which contains details of his early works as a student artist. Passing through the experimental and struggling phase, early on his career, Bayani established his name through his notable admiration on school armchairs as focal points of his works, that narrates his views and laudation to his educational journey of transferring schools and settling to new environments as a young student due to his father’s vocation as an Aglipayan priest. As seen on his “Outstanding Series”, Bayani once again used school chairs, to emphasize importance of individuality and adaptability, traits he believed could make a person be part of a group while still standing out to be his own and eventually helped him cope and enjoy the nomadic circumstances of his academic pursuance as a child.

The third part of this show is artist Nikko Pelaez, who sees utmost importance in a person’s character and attitude. The way a person act and think towards others could make or break them, and for Nikko this is one of his life virtue and what keeps him grounded. He admits that even him is not always on his good side, as he believes “nobody’s perfect”, but what he holds on to is the awareness and balancing act on what is good and bad one must practice in life. He construed this belief though works for this exhibition that employs the principles of emphasis, contrast and balance. The noticeable hand gestures in black and white translates the imperfection of everyone, that there is always a good and bad side to each person. But the warm hues of the series shifts the emphasis to the virtuous traits and how they should be nurtured and developed to overpower the negative traits one has. On the contrary, the cooler schemes of blues sends Nikko’s belief on balance of life. One must still practice just and fairness to be able to protect oneself. Everyone has their limits, and not everyone would be good to you, thus learning the art of balance and weighing things in life on when to stand up for yourself not a bad thing, but a fair thing to practice.
Valuables is an exhibition of these three young artists trying to make us reevaluate ourselves and the things that what we regard as valuable. Aware of the all trivialities each one of us encounters everyday, the artists are convincing their audience to look for deeper meanings in things usually considered as typical and ordinary which we just pass-by and tend to overlook everyday – because at the end of the day, on these simplest forms, we might find the unfeigned essence of VALUABLES in our life.

- Pam Santos-Galera

© 2019 by NOVA Gallery Manila

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