Norberto “Peewee” Roldan will have a solo diptych exhibition, entitled: VIVA ESPAÑA / LONG LIVE AMÉRICA in Iloilo City. It will open November 25, 2022, 5:00 P.M.
Now based in Roxas City, Roldan is a popular and revered multi-media artist and curator who founded Green Papaya Art Projects in 2000.
The Viva España / Long Live América is an innovative diptych exhibition for it straddles in two different locations in Metropolitan Iloilo. Viva España will be presented at Museo Iloilo located at the Iloilo Provincial Capitol Complex while Long Live América will be presented at Balay Sueño Annex in Jaro, just at the back of the restored Jaro Municipal Hall, now under the National Museum of the Philippines.
The two-venue exhibition approach will also add a meaningful dimension to Roldan’s exhibit for it will demonstrate the political, historical, and cultural affinities or subject-venue parallelism to convey a message, and considering that a diptych is an artwork made up of two parts or a singular piece of artwork joined together by a pair of panels.
Retrospectively, the two venues carry rich historical significance vis-à-vis the development of Iloilo City which the artist substantially discussed to provide context to Viva España / Long Live América exhibit.
VIVA ESPAÑA, Museo Iloilo, Iloilo City
The Museo Iloilo was designed by Architect Sergio Peñasales and built in 1971. It is the first government-sponsored museum outside Metro Manila.
The museum houses an outstanding collection of Iloilo’s cultural heritage. But what makes Museo Iloilo significant is its around 300 pieces of religious artifacts and figures from the home altars of old, prominent, and devout Catholic families in the province. The Ilonggos’ generous donations of Catholic material culture firmly and eloquently attest to the influence of 400 years of Spanish colonial rule on the Visayan region and its people.
On October 5, 1889, Maria Christina, then Queen Regent of Spain, raised the status of Iloilo to “Royal City of the South” due to its economic development during the 18th and 19th centuries. In 1896, the Queen Regent named Iloilo “La Muy Noble Ciudad,” or “The Most Noble City,” in appreciation of the Ilonggos’ allegiance to Spain, and their chivalry to defend the “Queen City of the South” against the surge of the Philippine Revolution.
This section of the diptych is an attempt to “colonize” the space of the museum, select and retain some pieces from its collection, and intervene in its present narrative.
LONG LIVE AMÉRICA, Balay Sueño Annex, Jaro, Iloilo City
Long Live América, on the other hand, is presented at Balay Sueño Annex.
Balay Sueño, a 1940s ancestral house located at the corner of Benedicto and Washington in Jaro, Iloilo, was built by Don Modesto Ledesma, a haciendero who served as mayor of Jaro in the 1920s. Once a separate city, Jaro was merged with Iloilo City in the 1940s, during the American colonial administration of the Philippines under its policy of Benevolent Assimilation.
Jaro plays an important role for the Roman Catholic Church in this part of the Christian nation. It is where the Archdiocese of Jaro — the Metropolitan jurisdiction that encompasses the provinces of Antique, Guimaras, Iloilo, and Negros Occidental — is headquartered.
While this section of the diptych exhibition reflects the country’s American colonial history with snippets of Hollywood cinema, American fashion, and America as a superpower, it also ponders on the Filipinos’ love-hate relationship with America.
Norberto Roldan’s VIVA ESPAÑA / LONG LIVE AMÉRICA solo diptych exhibition will be on show from November 25 to December 31, 2022.
The art exhibit is presented by Museo Iloilo for the benefit of Rotary Club of Metro Iloilo and organized in cooperation with Silverlens Galleries.