THE WORLD THAT WAS
July 24 - August 14, 2021
In his exhibitions, John Paul Antido has been consistently portraying images of Filipiniana, with attention to turn-of-the-century fashions and styles, in vivid colors and highly-defined outlines, evoking nostalgia for the old ways of life. In his solo exhibition, The World That Was, the artist manifests his characteristic figuration, this time further illuminating how the past may serve as beacon to cast light upon the travails of the present and the uncertainty of the future.
Though it centers on a lost world, the paintings give life to the innocence, simplicity, and wonder that this world represents. The artist is able to evoke this through a surreal style, in which bird houses, pigeons, and plants occupy a wide-brimmed hat; paper airplanes delicately fly in space; and diagrams and maps narrate a synchronic view of history as opposed to a chronological progression. Antido’s brand of iconography shares the visual language of children’s story books in which the inventions of the mind are expressed without inhibition.
Such an approach makes these works as a kind of tonic for the soul, able to strike a fervor for our shared culture, tradition, and heritage not as vague markers of national identity but as felt experiences. Hence, the visuality of these works is immediately comprehended, matching certain recollections of the viewer, such as childhood plays and crafts, leisurely and festive activities, and vernacular forms and architectures.
While the emphasis seems to be placed on “the world that was,” the works are sometimes direct, sometimes tangential commentaries on contemporary ways of life. For instance, “Pass the Message” and “Daluyong ng Hangin” serve as a counterpoint to our reliance on the communication capabilities of a cellphone.
On the other hand, the work, “Karaniwang Tagpo,” touches upon courtship, but this time portrayed as something more relaxed and need no expression of manly ardor. Here, the young man and woman enjoy each other’s company in a picnic, wearing their comfortable Chucks, surrounded by images of romance. The World That Was affirms that “the more things change, the more they remain the same,” pointing at something essential and irreducible that we all share.
-Carlomar Arcangel Daoana
John Paul Antido or also known as JAPS is a Filipino artist who graduated from the University of the Philippines, Diliman where he took up a bachelor's in Fine Arts and majored in Painting. He was born in Antipolo City and is still a resident enjoying the cold weather and mountainous scenery of his childhood home.
Japs' works have been shown to audiences in Laos, Singapore, Malaysia, and Denmark. He is known for mixing traditional subjects with a modern style in his works. While having a festive scenery, he shows intricate traditional garments and the native flair of Filipinos combined with modern elements. Japs uses the impasto technique of laying thick paint with textured brushstrokes and with the use of bright and lively colors to depict how Filipinos celebrate occasions.
For his exhibit entitled “The World That Was” is a story of the beliefs and principles of Filipinos, the heritage that is still ingrained in our culture, and the history that is known to everyone. He aspires to share his vision through his use of oil and canvases which gives his audience another perspective to see the roots of each Filipino and the community that we thrive in.