UPV partners with Lopez Foundation, Iloilo City for art exhibit

Prof. Martin Genodepa, Director of the UPV Office of Initiatives in Culture and the Arts, LGFI President Mercedes Lopez Vargas, Mayor Jerry Treñas, UPV Chancellor Clement Camposano, former senator Franklin Drilon, former tourism secretary Narzalina Lim, and City Administrator Melchor Tan during the signing of the agreement. (Joseph Bernard A. Marzan)

By Joseph Bernard A. Marzan

The University of the Philippines Visayas (UPV), in collaboration with the Lopez Group Foundation, Inc. (LGFI) and the Iloilo City Government, will bring works from renowned Filipino artists to the university’s museum in an exhibit set to run for the next two years.

UPV Chancellor Clement Camposano formally signed an agreement on Monday, May 20, at the Iloilo City Hall, with LGFI President Mercedes Lopez Vargas and Mayor Jerry Treñas.

Serving as witnesses to the signing were Prof. Martin Genodepa, Director of the UPV Office of Initiatives in Culture and the Arts (OICA), City Administrator Melchor Tan, former senator Franklin Drilon, former tourism secretary Narzalina Lim, and other members of the Lopez family.

This collaboration will feature works by artists Juan Luna, Felix Resureccion Hidalgo, and Fernando Amorsolo, among others, from the Lopez Museum and Library’s (LML) collection.

The UPV Museum of Arts and Cultural Heritage (MACH) will host these artworks for two cycles: the first from June 2024 to April 2025, and the second from November 2025 to April 2026.

The exhibition program will be managed by Genodepa, who will also develop the accompanying educational modules, while Dr. Patrick Flores, UP Diliman professor and Deputy Director of the National Gallery of Singapore, will serve as the chief curator.

The program aims to fulfill UPV MACH’s vision of becoming an engaging university museum for the experience and study of art and cultural heritage among locals and visitors alike.

This initiative is part of the LGFI’s social development efforts in Iloilo, honoring the Lopez family patriarch and Lopez Group of Companies founder, Eugenio Lopez Sr.

“The exhibition program presents a unique opportunity for people in Iloilo and the whole Western Visayas, including nearby regions, to see the original works of Luna, Hidalgo, Amorsolo, and other major Filipino artists who have contributed to the development of art in the country. The exhibitions will also be learning platforms for students of art and culture,” the UPV OICA said in its press release.

During the signing on Monday, Drilon highlighted the significance of the program, noting the donation of the old city hall, where UPV’s first campus now stands, by a member of the Lopez family, the late former mayor and vice president Fernando Lopez.

He also revealed that the UPV MACH was not the first choice to host the art exhibition.

“It was a lot of difficulty because we could not find an appropriate site. The initial proposal to have it in the Museum of Economic History was rejected. That’s a wooden structure, and it can cause problems,” Drilon said.

“That is more significant, because then it has come full circle, and thus the Lopez family and the LGFI should be recognized for their effort to revive the roots and their bond with Iloilo,” he added.

Vargas reiterated their desire for the LML to come to Iloilo, attributing it to Drilon, a UPV alumnus, Lim, and Genodepa.

“We’re thanking everyone, the proponents of this project, and we look forward to see its fruition,” she said.

Treñas, in his message, said that the exhibit will be “one of the best things to happen in Iloilo.”