At the ArtistSpace, the year starts with a commemoration of the Feast of the Black Nazarene in Manila through Panata (Vow), the solo exhibition of Cebu-based visual artist and portraitist Jun Impas.
The exhibition gives tribute to the much-celebrated tradition where devotees of the life-size statue of the dark-skinned, cross-bearing Jesus Christ in Quiapo Church, would flock to catch its procession in Manila. Held annually, it is said the Black Nazarene procession is the largest gathering of fiesta devotees in the Philippines.
The focus of the exhibition is a single, sprawling and panoramic canvas that spans a breath-taking width and length of 90- by 160-inches. According to renowned art critic Cid Reyes, the painting’s colossal size contained in a small gallery reflects the energy of the actual spectacular feast.
Depicted in the painting are thousands of barefoot men that follow behind the Black Nazarene, some, in a frenzy to clamber up the carriage to physically touch the Nazarene. The work was created in a painterly fashion, and is seemingly influenced by the Chiaroscuro style.
Panata serves as the “climax” of the body of work that the artist has created to document and celebrate as many of the country’s fiestas. This is because last year art enthusiasts saw him showcase multiple canvasses depicting a particular town or a region’s fiesta. Also, what makes this work worth seeing, as much as his other works, is the genuine creative process involved in creating the piece. It is said that for all of his works, the artist paints from personal, first-hand experience of a particular fiesta.
Panata will be running at ArtistSpace, Ayala Museum until February 2.