The Hulot Gallery at the ground floor of the Iloilo Museum of Contemporary Art (ILOMOCA) features the work of Ilonggo artist Noel Magallanes Elicana, entitled: “Táyhop.” It opened in December 14, 2019.
This is the first solo exhibit of Elicana. He is a recognized Ilonggo contemporary artist and a Grand Awardee in the 2018 Metrobank Art and Design Excellence Awards (MADE) for Oil and Acrylic Category.
In a piece written by Jay Bautista for the show, entitled: “Fire Starter,” Táyhop is described as Elicana’s display of authenticity, discipline, and grit while the entire collection is an expression of gratitude and remembering to family members and relatives who have nurtured him and his siblings.
The title of the show táyhop is a Hiligaynon word that describes a bamboo bellow or a tube used to blow an air on the fire wood to sustain a fire while cooking. This is a traditional household kitchen instrument commonly used at the dirty kitchen in the olden days.
Táyhop has a symbolic significance to Elicana considering that a fire is a pronounced element in his art pieces and indeed it is meant to convey his character as a high-spirited, focused, passionate, and determined – outcomes shaped by a struggle-tested life.
The centerpiece of the show is Enlightened, by far it solicited awe among the audience during the opening night and among Ilonggo artists as one of the largest piece rendered on canvas using oil.
All the art pieces on show are 2019 works of Noel M. Elicana and the accompanying texts that describes every piece is a description by the artist through his writer.
Enlightened | 8×20 ft. – Oil on Canvas
Enlightened is about a big tree casting a silhouette of another tree tht grew within, overbearing with lush branches loaded with ethereal memories. As Elicana honored his parents, all the more he honors his forebears – for imparting him valuable lesson after lesson as they aged in wisdom. This evident in the flowers that grew from the branches. There are thorns everywhere as there are many challenges. The bones are reminders of our parent’s sacrifices.
In a surrealistic urge, Elicana implants various molar teeth around as he got used to life’s struggle as he experiences gnashing dilemmas. Mortal beings are represented by the flames and the burning clocks at the center specifies our lives are ruled by God’s own time and not the rhythm of our world.
It represents Elicana’s canvas of his “first childhood memories.” The rust and mold-like hues resemble trauma with a hint of hope. The white dress was what her mother wore while lying in her coffin while the smaller one recognizes his sister who only lived for a measly ten minutes.
There was never a day that Elicana did not long for them. It is barely a semblance as he saw the purityof white as a sign of hope one day they would be together once again. The knife represents how strict his father became after he lost his wife. The three white eggs are Elicana and his siblings, a reminder that you cannot hold them too tight or too lose as any of these ways will break them.
Fire has always been symbolic to Elicana and a constant in his works. Even the title of the show is related to fire which has many representations to him. It could be passion, or it could mean “in high spirits” as eternal power in Faith and Holy. Elicana is a spiritual being, glorifying the Almighty God who he gives credit behind the wind to produce fire. Another staple in an Elicana painting is his fixation with holes as a source of unlocking truth and imagination. For Elicana, faith is the only key to the mystery of living.
A Father’s Journey | 6×8 ft. – Oil on Canvas
His father has been a recurring image in Elicana’s works. Fathe’s Journey is attributed to him who has been Elicana’s source of strength in his words “from seed to growing tree.” Elicana has depicted him as a fierce, over-protective, ever-ready paternal figure like a dog who is always there for his brood. Yet he is the most loving creature as evident by the flowers overwhelming him – as if Elicana praises him to the highest degree to no end.
Elicana’s prowess comes in his painstaking details. Notice how he added white flowing lines in all of his paintings. Similar to the bark of a tree, the more textured it is. A gentle reminiscent of his siblings. He did not join other kids and play in the streets rather he was holding a bolo and cutting branches from trees. That is why Elicana values every canvas he fills up to perfection reflecting this early work ethic.
Elicana owes a big debt of gratitude to Papa Greg and Mama Celia, his uncle and aunt who took care of them as they were growing up in lieu of his father. When Day and Night are One and Finshed Duty observed how both sacrficed – oftentimes taking two jobs just to fend for their brood. They barely sleep because of their workload. Depending on the season, Papa Greg is both a farmer and a jeepney driver while Mama Celia who was a seamstress until she cold no longer handle the sewing machine due to health reasons.
Altar of Blessings | 2×2 ft. – Oil on Canvas
Altar of Blessings is attributed to the seven guardians who took care of Elicana and his siblings in their formative years – his father, Uncle Ruby, Auntie Didet (Manila), Papa Greg and Mam Celia (Jaro, Iloilo), Tatay Rudy and Nanay Mercy (In Oton, Iloilo during summer). His background depends upon the level of his affections with each of them. It is also Elicana’s demonstration of how he could be as illustratve and as hyperrealist as he can be. This is the extent of his rendering of human anatomy. There may be no traces of facial renderings that Elicana veers away as he equates it to the stating obvious. He waxes sentimentality without featuring their facial representations.
Táyhop will be on show until January 16, 2020. Know more on this by visiting the Facebook page of the Iloilo Museum of Contemporary Art (ILOMOCA) at https://www.facebook.com/ILOMOCA/