top of page

Still Standing Firm

Paul John Cabanalan, Jason Delgado, Delmo, Noel Elicana, Orland Espinosa, Tyrone Dave Espinosa, Joebert Gayoma, Jirah Labanza, Roland Llarena

February 10, 2024 - March 2, 2024

Press Release

Still Standing Firm

“And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, and the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.

-Khalil Gibran, The Prophet

Still Standing Firm marks SIGAHUM’s 4th group exhibit, paying homage to their creative roots and ongoing journey toward artistic maturity. This creative odyssey has led the members of the Iloilo-based artist group from shared local beginnings to diverse cosmopolitan platforms and individual life paths. Leveraging their background in architecture, the exhibit features an installation where stretched canvases and wooden panels serve as pillars, arranged back-to-back in the gallery space. These pillars, beyond their structural role, symbolize the creative, social, and motivational strength inherent in artist communities. Each pillar stands as a testament to the power of diversity fortifying the collective aesthetic.

Feet and tree limbs interchangeably represent rootedness and the pursuit of growth. While sharing common symbols, each artist employs them to narrate a distinct trajectory: for Jason Delgado, feet symbolize the supple but firm inspiration derived from his new family; for Noel Elicana, feet become symbols of the reliable scaffolding that Faith has been in his journey; and for Tyrone Espinosa, intricately carved bird-like feet in Lawaan wood characterize the constant grappling for a moral footing to contextualize life’s trials.

The fertile soil forming the foundation of a resilient forest links the works of PJ Cabanalan, Delmo, Orland Espinosa, and Jirah Labanza. For Cabanalan, Delmo, and Orland Espinosa, the forest is a magical haven filled with fantastical creatures tending to a primordial sacred way of living. Delmo imparts an ethereal glow to his painted works, hinting at an inner world where timeless resilience and constant peacefulness can be found. PJ Cabanalan and Orland Espinosa sustain their creativity through a playful approach to painting, tapping into the rich reservoir of their subconscious and discerning the unfolding stories within. Jirah Labanza sees the motherly nurture inherent in nature, which she lovingly depicts in her quaintly painted rendition of birds’ nests nestled in tree branches. Joebert Gayoma and Roland Llarena turn to innerscapes interpreted respectively through surrealist symbolism and minimalist abstract color fields to assert their unique voice on their ongoing search for identity.

Despite the centralization of art's economic activity in the capital, these artists from the south of Manila choose to embody and narrate stories and vantages from their home province. They draw confidence from the mutual support within the collective, emphasizing the importance of roots and rootedness. Keeping their feet firmly planted reflects their deeply-held faith that the strength of their pillars depends on the depth of their foundation. While a pillar can stand alone, its true merit lies in how strongly it supports the other pillars of a structure. It is artists building each other up, conscious that they are the pillars holding their shared dreams—each one standing authentically while supporting another.

Alee Garibay

bottom of page