TEXT & PHOTO: Kaycie Gayle
Pinto Art Museum
After satisfying myself on Pinto Academy, I moved on to Pinto Art Museum which consists of interweaving galleries with different themes. The contemporary works by Filipino artists here are spread out on which some are hanging on the walls, looming in the halls, and installed on the grounds. This museum has clearly provided to appreciate and sense the nuances of the art.
Upon entering even just from the first gallery one would identify that the space is dedicated as a repository of ideas and visions that the artists would like to share among the curious onlookers. The artworks here are meaningfully created to serve as a ‘door’ or an opening to hear, awaken and cause awareness about the current challenging condition of the minorities, oppressed, and the ignored. Gallery 1 has a high-ceiling spacious hall, with white-painted bare concrete walls that serve as the perfect canvas for the artworks with powerful messages. It also features interesting installations like the rock boulders and has cemented steps that seem to be tiered row concrete bleachers that are also used as its wide stairs. This gallery has a collection more focused on exhibiting the scenes from daily life in the Philippines.
Boulders at Gallery 1
Meanwhile, passing through a narrow portal from the left side of the lowest tier of the hall leads to Gallery 2. Upon switching to another gallery, I have instantly noticed the nostalgic black Volkswagen Beetle, its concrete steps which reflects that this gallery has followed the contour of the hillside, and the slanted ramp located at the center of steps which is intended for visitors on wheelchair. This long hall exhibits paintings hanging on the wall and sculptures that are well placed on corners. The collection here includes experimental mixed media pieces made from X-rays, Epoxy Resin and Polychromed wood.
Climbing up the pebbledash steps and walkway, led me to Gallery 3 which is dedicated to wired sculptures. Its ceiling is designed with bamboo and also has a charming alcove window seat with white mattress and pillow and is adorned with a lining made of Traviesa wood. Meanwhile, going inside the room has led me to another room with a mezzanine where a collection of what seemed to be taken from dark inspiration are displayed.
From the boundary of Gallery 2 and 3, another pathway serves as an entrance to a new wing. Here, I was drawn to a beautiful terrace facing the garden, which seemed to be a restaurant in the previous. The atmosphere here has that Tuscany vibe with its terracotta coloring and wrought iron chairs with knick-knacks placed on mounted shelves.
Meanwhile, Gallery 4 reveals more hidden treasures where the collection includes contemporary and abstract paintings and sculptures. It has interesting centerpieces and houses the Ducati Bike display with wire sculpture and the graffiti “We Are The Kids That Your Parents Warned About” that is written through sprayed paint.
Another doorway has then led me to Gallery 5 which features various paintings depicting the Spanish era which are mostly made of oil canvas and other mediums of traditional painting. Exiting from here has brought me to a cloister that is tastefully designed with antique accents.
Passing through the left side of the cloister is an unimposing door to a dark room named Forest. Initially, I did not appreciate this gallery but after my eyes have adjusted, I started to notice each detail inside. There are bamboo pillars towering up in the ceiling, dried leaves on the floor and the spotlights that are the only source of light which are also used to emphasize the basin with water and pebbles. Moreover, the nature-themed instrumental music with birds chirping sound effect adds to the sensation of being in a forest indeed.
Continuing my strolling on the cloister, I have reached Gallery 6 which is a two storey structure with high ceilings. On its ground floor are the paintings on the wall and a good view of its narrow walkway on the second floor with powder blue antique balustrades and slim balusters with lined framed paintings on the wall. This walkway connects the two rooms on each end. On one side it has a library while on the other end is a somewhat bedroom with three brain seats with displayed figurines and clay art.
This place reveals something interesting in every turn. On the middle of the walkway, there is a balcony that allowed me to peek of the three connected hallways forming a courtyard garden. Meanwhile, looking at the hallways below from the window have made me notice that the place has a monastic vibe. Having explored the area, I have realized that it is a crowd’s favorite, from having the walkway which allows one to appreciate the paintings from different angles to the rooms that seem to be like parts of the house such as the living and dining area on the first floor and the library and bedroom on the second floor. No wonder that some would like to loiter here.
Since I have felt that I have explored all the galleries in the museum, I am ready to return and trudged the other side of the cloister. On my way back, I came across another gallery with a theme ‘Usapang Babae’ which literally means ‘women’s conversation’. It is an audio room with an incomprehensible cacophony of sound where there are whispering voices of women talking simultaneously. It is accompanied with different figures of women in pairs as if chatting with each other. This concept interestingly reflects that people tend to listen to hearsays and rumor-mongering without even understanding the issues entirely and yet though we only know the surface of the story it is being passed on through a casual conversation. Moreover, it also depicts that people won’t understand each other if we talk simultaneously.
Afterwards, I went on looking for the exit when another door has led me to another gallery which seems to be bird-themed. It features an art piece of two birds with feet and a replica of a plant with feathers as leaves.
After peeking inside and determined to be back I am surprised to have seen another door with a notice that says “This room contains sensitive images that are not suitable for children! Always keep the door closed.”, hence, I have entered it to see what is inside. The door leading to it is a heavy sliding one, hence I needed some effort to open it, and thought should children try to open it, they would surely struggle. Inside, it features some paintings with mature content and sex-related. Moreover behind a boulder on the center is a sculpture of a naked man and a woman laying on the floor. However, one of the art pieces that made me interested in is the painting called ‘Anibersaryo’ or Anniversary in English by Mark O. Justiniani. It is a painting of an aged couple who are naked and both already have sagging bellies but seems to be still in love and turned on with each other. As the title of the painting suggests, it could be the night of their anniversary after so many years of being together and celebrates it by making love.
After being sufficed with what I have seen, I decided to head back to the exit. From the cloister between Gallery 5 and 6 I have walked back and ascended the stairs to the open grounds near the exit. Suddenly I remembered I have not yet explored the Pinto Art Gallery despite being the first building from the entrance, hence, I have decided to drop by on it.
Pinto Art Gallery
This gallery features artworks using different mediums created by some Filipino artists in New York, also it has an alcove seat with white mattress and white pillow for guests who would like to sit for a while. Across it is the souvenir shop that sells fans, native bags and pouches and the t-shirt with the print of the museum’s signature line ‘We are the kids that your parents warned you about’.
While heading to the exit, I have realized that Pinto Art Museum is about having a harmonious blend of the natural wonders and man-made creations. It expresses respect for nature and an appreciation to the craft of man thus, definitely rekindles anyone’s interest in arts and nature. No wonder that it has been on the Top 23 of the 25 Most-Instagrammed Museums based on Geotagging in 2016. My take home from exploring this artwonderland is that with the initiative of a person with a good heart to support has led to the doors of success and recognition of many. This eventually has also led to unlocking more doors by enabling more people to appreciate what has been started by them. The beauty of this place and its recognition has been made possible by opened doors, consistent support, and the passion of different many individuals. Hence, to anyone who is knocking, and has been opened their doors for, it is just right for us to respect, follow the rules and support in preserving what they have initiated and worked for so they can continue to open their doors for more people that it could hopefully reach even up to the next generation.
Pinto Art Museum is perched on a 1.3-hectare verdant land that is nestled at 1 Sierra Madre St. Grand Heights Rd, Antipolo, Rizal, Philippines. They are open from Tuesday to Sunday from 9am to 6pm.
Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored. All expenses were shouldered by the author. All photos are from Kaycie Gayle
Acknowledgment to Artnet, Inquirer, Philstar, Choose Philippines and Spot