May 19 - Jun 18, 2022
All images by courtesy of Silverlens Galleries
Bread and Circuses, a solo exhibition by Alfredo Esquillo reclaims the said phrase from a Roman writer when he summarized the consequential decline of heroism of the Romans after the Roman Republic cease to exist and the Roman Empire eventually began. Esquillo applies and finds parallelism to the two things that the Roman Emperor distracted the people by keeping the populace happy - a full stomach and staging huge spectacles at the coliseum. Esquillo compares the Roman Empire to Philippine modern society since the 70s to the current affairs surrounding us. Through paintings and sculptures, Esquillo reflects deeply, as he artistically essays recurring signs and symbols concerning politics, culture, and technology--in relation to misappropriated policies of our past and incumbent presidents--as we have been endowed by sheer short memories of the past. As we prepare for a new leader, who will either get us the quagmire or further sink us deeper in the social quick sand. Esquillo situates his bespoke art to the complex context we are facing.
Words by Jay Bautista
Nutribun at Pene, 2022, oil on ethylene-vinyl acetate, 154.31h x 121.92w cm (unframed)
Pompas Y Vanidades, 2022, oil on ethylene-vinyl acetate, wood mirror frame193.04h x 110.49w x 35.56d cm
Upon This Rock I Will Build My Bank, 2022, cement, metal, wood, acrylic, 396.24h x 203.20w x 101.60d cm
Dictatorial Insemination, 2022, cement, acrylic paint, 24.46h x 29.85w x 109.22d cm
Filipino artist Alfredo Esquillo (b. 1972)’s illustrious 25 years career in art scene includes dozens of major shows, numerous awards and participation in prestigious residency programs.
Equipped with a remarkable technical virtuosity in oil painting and continuing drive to experiment with his medium, his works have been avidly received in contemporary art. Esquillo delves in the periphery through the folk religious, the pre- colonial indigenous, and the fresh visual language of the young. He is known for his unique ability to profoundly combine imagery endowed with compelling realities and deep historical implication. He has brought in the idea of reinforcing deeper political and social bearings through combination of images. He prompts his audiences for self-refiection that recognizes the significance of human agency and spiritual discernment. Esquillo currently lives and works in Manila.
He is currently active in spearheading collaborative and community-based artist-led initiatives in the peripheries of the art scene.