The recent visit of His Holiness Pope Francis created a massive groundswell of devotional fervor among Filipinos, strengthening and renewing their Christian faith. Among the millions deeply moved by the mind-opening and soul-stirring homilies and social pronouncements of the Pontiff was Filipino businessman Victor Luis de la Rosa Cusi, founder and national chairman of Great Nation Philippines Inc., who holds a doctorate from the University of the Philippines.
A devout Christian, successful entrepreneur, visionary author, song writer and art patron, Victor Cusi says that for years, he has been thinking of organizing a Philippine Sacred Art exhibit to pay homage to the profound faith of the Filipino nation, and in tribute to the many Filipino visual artists past and present whose sculptures and paintings not only represent the deeply held religious values of our people, but also manifest the highest degree of excellence in artistic craft that is recognized everywhere.
Cusi’s dream for Filipino artists will finally be realized when the first of a series of Philippine Sacred Art exhibits opened to the public last April 29 at the GSIS museum. It promises to be a grand showcase of works by noted Filipino artists depicting religious iconography with distinctly Filipino Christian themes such as the Madonna and Child, saints and martyrs, and religious festivals and rituals in all their various ethnic and historical representations.
The overall project director for this art exhibit is Gerardo Isada, tourism and management consultant and retired Philippine tourism official, who has worked closely with government agencies in lending support to Filipino artists. The show is a joint project of Great Nation Philippines Inc. and the Intramuros Visual Artists Philippines (IVAP).
Cusi and Isada succeeded in getting together a group they now call “Twelve Ambassadors of Philippine Religious Art” to exhibit their works in the forthcoming show. They are led by Nemesio Miranda or Nemiranda, one of the country’s best-known artists and recognized as a leading luminary in the art world of Angono, indeed even a worthy future successor to National Artist Carlos ‘Botong’ Francisco who hails from this town. Another name in this stellar list of artists is Rafael ‘Ka Paeng’ Pacheco, hailed as the progenitor and exponent of finger-and-palm painting in the Philippines, whose undersea-world paintings have been exhibited and sold in several countries. Also in the group is Al Perez, iconic painter of Philippine churches that are among the most striking examples of our Christian cultural heritage. Making up the rest of the roster are other established names in the Philippine art community: Cee Cadid, Pancho Piano, Jonahmar Salvosa, Dr. Ton Raymundo, Alberto ‘Badz’ Magsumbol, Mario Panis, Danny Santiago, Willy Layug, and Rudolf Gonzalez.
Members of the organizing committee and some of the artists recently paid a courtesy call on Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, who has expressed support for the Philippine Sacred Art series of exhibits and related projects. Cardinal Tagle was among the guests of honor on April 29, and delivered the inspirational message to formally open the exhibit.