Toronto– The Philippine Consulate General in Toronto hosted the official unveiling of the paintings “Cry of Balintawak” and “Harvest” on October 06, 2022-ceremony at the Philippine Consulate General office.
Gracing the event were Consul General Dyah Lestari Asmarani of the Republic of Indonesia; Mrs. Daisy Wai, MPP and Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister for Seniors and Accessibility Member in Ontario; Ms. Doly Begum, Ontario NDP Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) for Scarborough Southwest, and Professor Philip Kelly of the Department of Geography, York University.
Consul General Orontes Castro and the Consulate’s special guests presented a large framed canvas, a 1998 oil painting of the late Jessie Abaya (1931-2000) entitled “Cry of Balintawak.” The title is a visual idiom reflecting Philippine folk aesthetics, even the country’s history, customs, and traditions. Its bold folk colours and flowing rhythmic lines represent different character types, unifying all in a flowing narrative scheme.
Mr. Abaya initially donated his artwork to the Philippine Heritage Band (PHB) to commemorate the Philippine Centennial in June 1998, the 100th anniversary of Philippine Independence Day.
MPP Doly Begum presented to the public the work of art “Harvest,” painted by Arceo Buenaventura. It is a thickly painted artwork with sunny, vibrant atmospheric effects that beautifully capture the spirit of the rice harvest.
Filipino communities, mainly from the Philippine Heritage Band (PHB) and Scarborough Ontario Seniors Association (SOSA), shared excitement in unveiling the two donated paintings.
Ron Adea, of Autism Society Philippines (ASP) and singer Rawan Tuffaha rendered entertainment with three musical numbers. Ron is a talented concert pianist who uses his unique gifts and big heart to raise awareness, inspire others and spread hope for people living with an autism spectrum disorder.
In addition to this already-impressive art collection, over 60 pieces of art decorate the walls of the Consulate office. The paintings were winning entries submitted by students of the Toronto District School Board that supported the Art Competition conducted in March 2021 as part of the Quincentennial celebration in the Philippines.
Their work displayed gives the students a sense of Filipino pride, as quoted by the Consul General.
The” Cry of Balintawak” is a significant milestone in Philippine history. PHB decided to donate it to the Philippine Consulate General of Toronto on the occasion of the Philippines’ Quincentennial in 2021. It is a more appropriate home and a fitting tribute to an unsung Filipino painter.
– Oscar Farinas, PHB Founder & Executive Director
By Marites de Jesus, Far West Herald