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Lymuel Bautista

August 5, 2023

Press Release


For his solo exhibition, Debosyon, Lymuel Bautista presents a narrative told through a unique approach to the pictorial surface, skillfully transforming the canvas into a representation of corrugated iron roofs. Through his adept use of deep reds and browns, reminiscent of rusted iron, Bautista brings attention to the precarious conditions of marginalized communities—which constitute the majority of the country’s population—as well as the struggles they face daily.

For this show, the artist departs from his usual socio-realistic subject matter, as epitomized by his work “Haunting Wail of Chaos,” the Grand Awardee in the Watermedia on Paper category of the Metrobank Art and Design Excellence in 2021—a visual fable depicting the intersection of the pandemic’s challenges with societal issues. This time, the artist’s objective is aimed at the concept of “devotion,” with a particular emphasis on devotion to family. Bautista draws inspiration from his own mother, who exemplifies unwavering dedication in raising her children single-handedly, a tribute that reflects the strength and sacrifices of countless mothers in similar circumstances.

The idea of “devotion” takes on another dimension in the exhibition as it intersects with religious iconography. For instance, instead of bearing a cross, men carry the impossible weight of a beam or a post, meant to signify the difficulty of building a home. Spent matchsticks are depicted as instruments of flagellation, as if to underscore how seemingly volatile are the sacrifices of the poor. This notion of penance becomes a thought-provoking aspect of the show, suggesting that sometimes devotion requires individuals to sacrifice their own lives for a greater purpose, in this case, the creation a domestic space as a form of refuge.

The artist also perceives this show as his own form of refuge from the heavy, hard-hitting themes that he has pursued in his body of work thus far. “This show offers a respite from my past works that are political,” the artist said in the vernacular. “My attack on this show is personal as opposed to my previous works. Soon, I’ll be back to the persistent context of my pieces, but this time, I have chosen to enter the sanctuary of home to recharge.”

With Debosyon, Lymuel Bautista masterfully reveals the scope of his artistic prowess while delving into how the personal, the social, and the spiritual intersect especially in Philippine reality. Through his innovative process of figuration and exploration of diverse themes, Bautista’s work showcases a promising trajectory in the realm of contemporary art. As a young and visionary artist, he is leaving an indelible mark on the art world with evocative and powerful creations that are reflective of self and society.

Carlomar Arcangel Daoana

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