Negros Museum features Larry Alcala’s art exhibit

By Glazyl Y. Masculino

BACOLOD City – In celebration of this year’s National Heritage Month, art works of National Artist for Visual Arts Larry Alcala are featured at the Negros Museum here starting May 15 to July 31.

Alcala’s son Engr. Lauro Alcala, Armita Rufino, president of the Filipino Heritage Festival Inc., and first lady Dominique “Nikki” Benitez led the ribbon cutting of the exhibit yesterday, along with Negros Cultural Foundation president Lyn Gamboa, Councilor Em Ang, and Provincial Tourism Officer Cheryl Decena.

Entitled “Slices of Life, Wit, and Humor – Travelling Exhibition 2023,” the exhibit is also featured at Museo ng Makati from May 11 to June 3.

Co- produced by Filipino Heritage Festival, Inc. (FHFI) and the Metropolitan Museum of Manila (The M) and National Commission for Culture and the Arts ( NCCA), the exhibit connects with participating city museums to broaden audience reach and engage with communities on a national level through the arts.

Engr. Lauro, in his message, said his father’s exhibit celebrates the Filipino culture and identity to laughter and humor.

He said that his father’s art work windows the Filipino life and capture the moment in time.

“It’s only fitting that the exhibit in the Visayas leg begins here, in the city which my father called home for the last decades of his life,” he added.

For her part, Gamboa said the exhibit pays tribute to Alcala’s remarkable contribution to art and literature, as well as his legacy to inspire Filipino artists.

“Through his exciting work, Mr. Alcala captures the essence of Filipino life. His wit, and humor captures everyday moments that turned into visual masterpieces,” she added.

Slices of Life, Wit, and Humor Picture a day in the life in the Philippines. Most widely known for his weekly magazine illustrations called Slice of Life, Alcala’s work explored the daily lives of Filipinos in a manner both critical of society while also ai ~~lighthearted in its depiction.

Curated by award- winning artist and former student of Prof. Larry Alcala, Ruben “Totet” de Jesus, who is currently a faculty member of the University of the Philippines (UP) College of Fine Arts, the exhibition brings together a significant collection of Alcala’s works from the 1980s up to his retirement, after which he devoted his time to mentoring young artists whom he inspired.

Alcala began his career in comics in 1946 while still a student in UP, where he later graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting in 1950.

He began teaching at the same university a year later, beginning a 30-year career as a professor at the UP College of Fine Arts, where he was instrumental as well in the formation of their Visual Communication program.

Outside of his career in the academe, Alcala was also best known for his illustrious career as a cartoonist and comic artist, for which the Philippine Board on Books for Young People called him the Dean of Filipino Cartoonists.

His works have included the comic strips Jslaw Palitaw and Kalabog en Bosyo, which later held the title for the longest-running comic strip by a Filipino, and a weekly cartoon series called Slice of Life.

Alcala passed away at 75 years old on June 24, 2002, and he was posthumously conferred the title of National Artist for Visual Arts in 2018.