By Dom Galeon
Images by Manny Llanes
It’s a gallery fit for a queen, or in this case, a grand dame. The Manila Hotel recently unveiled a permanent gallery housed inside its historic walls, just before the entrance to the Red Jade restaurant. Simply called the Art Gallery, it will feature different Filipino artists every quarter, according to the Manila Hotel resident manager Chris Orta.
“This is going to be a permanent exhibit,” he says. “Every quarter, we’re going to come up with new artists—renowned artists—and also up-and-coming, inspiring, young artists, and give them a chance to showcase their talents, as well.”
For its current exhibit, the Manila Hotel’s Art Gallery has on display works by celebrated Filipino visual artists, dubbed The Masters. These include Raul Isidro, Hermes Alegre, Rosscapili, Salvador Ching, Fil Delacruz, Edgar Doctor, Raul Lebajo, and Mario de Rivera. Each of these artists produced a new artwork just for the gallery.
“Being part of this exhibit isn’t just an honor,” says Rosscapili. “You become part of history. Your work becomes classy, so to speak, because it’s displayed in this very historic place.”
It’s a sentiment echoed by the other artists, who were all present during the gallery’s opening last November. For his part, Raul says he is honored to have been asked to be among the featured Filipino artists. “It’s always a joy to be with other distinguished masters,” he explains.
Indeed, it’s quite apt for the Manila Hotel to house a gallery of its own, one that is more permanent than previous art galleries it had hosted throughout its long history. What better place to house such fine pieces of culture than a hotel that has been, to a great extent, part and parcel of Philippine history and cultural evolution.
“We decided we needed to start doing more from a cultural standpoint,” says Chris. “The hotel has so much history, there’s so much tradition here. We thought that reaching out to the arts would be the best thing. I think we’ve waited too long to do this. Now, we had the opportunity and some great artists presented themselves to us. So we’re very proud to be doing it.”
The Art Gallery at the Manila Hotel, featuring The Masters is open for public viewing until March 30. manila-hotel.com.ph | (02) 527 0011