“Bencab: The Filipino Artist” Opens at the Metropolitan Museum of Manila

"Mysterious Woman," 1998. Acrylic on canvas, 120cm x 100cm, artist's collection.

“Mysterious Woman,” 1998. Acrylic on canvas, 120cm x 100cm, artist’s collection.

The Metropolitan Museum of Manila takes its turn in celebrating the fifty creative years of National Artist BenCab (Benedicto Cabrera) with a retrospective exhibition that will open to the public starting October 5 and will run until February 27 next year. BenCab: The Filipino Artist presents a rare opportunity to survey the prolific career of the artist through an assemblage of more than a hundred paintings, prints, drawings and sculptures loaned from various institutional and private collections, many of which will be on public view for the first time.

Each of BenCab’s five decades of artistic harvest is amply represented in the exhibition. It starts from his early works as an art student at the College of Fine Arts of the University of the Philippines, to his 1960s paintings when he began exhibiting as a professional artist all the way to his most recent works this year.

"Philippine Revolutionary Heroes," 2010. Oil on canvas, 121.93cm x 152.40cm. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Collection.

“Philippine Revolutionary Heroes,” 2010. Oil on canvas, 121.93cm x 152.40cm. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Collection.

The retrospective exhibition at the Met reveals to the public a BenCab proficient in much broader art forms beyond painting and printmaking. It also shows how the artist continuously elevates his familiar images such as Sabel and Larawan from mere signature motifs to creative grounds of artistic experimentation and engaging visuals for social critique.

The exhibition presents more than just an expansive view of BenCab’s works. It is an incisive look into the artist’s life, oeuvre, and journey in becoming one of the Philippines’ most esteemed and iconic artists of the 21st century. 

BenCab: The Filipino Artist retrospective exhibition is curated by Dannie Alvarez. It is a part of a series of exhibitions in eight museums marking the Fifty Creative Years of the national artist.

Press release and photographs courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Manila.

For more information, visit our Events page entry here.

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