Mythopoeia opens at the UPV Art Gallery

Currently on view at the UP Visayas Art Gallery is Mythopoeia – Imaging the Imagination by Ilonggo painter El Dosado. The exhibit, which opened on 17 August 2016 at the Main Building in Iloilo City campus, is the artist’s fifth solo exhibition and depicts his personal interpretation of Filipino mythological beings and elementals which he believes serve as guardians of nature. Present during the exhibit opening is UPV College of Management Dean Prof. Mary Ann Gumban who is the guest of honor for the event.

An avowed biophile, Dosado asserts that the physical world is shared by both human beings and spirits who must partner to take care of it. The artist’s canvasses, hence, portray human beings in communion with dwarfs, fairies or mermaids.

The subjects of Dosado’s paintings overlap with those of the late Angono artist Perdigon Vocalan’s, who was instrumental in the development of the Higantes Festival and who established the Balaw-Balaw Restaurant which serves exotic Filipino food. But the affinity stops there.

Vocalan usually painted oft-repeated legends and stories of encounters with encanto characters while Dosado, who declares to have first hand encounters with elementals and beings that are staples in indigenous lore, seems to be documenting his personal stories.

As an apprentice of Carlos Botong Francisco, Vocalan had generally imbibed the visual narrative style of his mentor – linear and maximalist. Dosado’s painting style is traditional even academic; in fact, were it not for his preoccupation with the so-called encantos, his works betray a technique that is closest to Fernando Amorsolo’s or Fabian dela Rosa’s. Traditional or academic painting style is not exactly passé. Practicing it today may testify to an artist’s dedication and discipline. Dosado, undoubtedly, exhibits both traits but was clever to have opted for curious and non-traditional subjects. But the atypical subjects of Dosado’s works are not disquieting because they mingle with human beings in typical activities like playing, boating, fighting, resting, storytelling.

Besides his subjects and his technical proficiency in rendering his subjects, color is another notable element in Dosado’s paintings. The predominant use of shades of blue, yellow and green which at times appear to glow creates a subtle striving towards surrealism. A number of canvasses appear to have a smoky film or filter that subjugates the intensity of intrinsically brilliant hues. Looking at Dosado’s paintings is like looking at colored images in old yellowing pages of magazines. Because of this, the viewer may experience a kind of bafflement gazing at the compositions which specifically leave no clue about time. This achronic state, however, is not without basis if the accounts of those who swear by the reality of their having been to the land of tamawos and encantos are believed.

Mythmaking and spinning stories, tall as some of them may be, like all forms of art, are indispensable in the making of community, a nation, a people. They have universal themes and teach values and virtues. With these series of paintings with slight indications of syncretism, Dosado is not only re-affirming and perpetuating native lore and beliefs. He is also forging new narratives which are primarily personal but also quixotic and romantic.

Dosado studied art at the Philippine Women’s University. He has had solo exhibitions in Le Souffle Bistro, Allegro Café Italiano, Ayala Museum, and Museo Iloilo.

The exhibit will run until the end of September 2016. (Source: Prof. Martin Genodepa, UPV-CCCA)

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