Aug 15
VISUALLY YOURS by Alex J. Socorro  |  Posted in Articles  |  on Fri, Aug 15, 2008

Lunduyan is an ethnic term that means sanctuary. Since art is an outlet of talent and a gallery is an outlet (or a venue) of art works, Lunduyan therefore is a refuge of artists for the expression of their art. But simply put, Lunduyan is a tambayan in local terminology, a tambayan of artists and art lovers as well.

As a private art gallery, Lunduyan is intended to be a convergence zone of all artists. “Hindi lang po mga visual artists, kahit sa music o mga literary writers, basta artist po ay welcome dito,” says the youthful but shy Dick Santos who rents the place for his love of the arts. Like any young and idealistic artist, passion was Dick’s main reason for indulging in the ambitious endeavour.

Despite the costly rental – the gallery is located along the bustling Kamuning Road in Quezon City – Dick had considered the accessibility for the benefit of his artist friends. When he was scouting for a place, there were cheaper places but not easily accessible especially if one has to use public transportation. Besides, Dick lives just a few blocks away from his beloved gallery.

Furnished with a small airconditioner and fancy lighting to give the art works on the walls a good projection, the gallery is spartan by normal standards. Aside from the small toilet, it has an anteroom that also serves as a miniature studio and storage area. Sometimes the anteroom is converted into an emergency bedroom whenever Dick feels like working until past midnight.

Unless one is an Amorsolo or Manansala maybe, artists, particularly young ones like Dick, couldn’t rely on their craft for their self subsistence, what more for the expenses incurred by a gallery. It’s a good thing that Dick’s father believes in him so much as to provide for the gallery’s expenses, at least, for the moment. But Dick is confident that things would turn out right and the gallery can eventually be expanded to accommodate more art works and more friends.

Dick Santos, the youthful owner of Lunduyan Art Gallery

All the art works on display are consigned by Dick’s artist friends – proof that brotherhood is present among the artists of today. Most big galleries survive by earning a certain percentage of sales. To augment its meager budget, Lunduyan is to hold continuous art exhibits and tutorials aside from the planned collaboration with known artists in other fields.

Aside from paintings, others on display and on sale are mixed media art works and painted bottles. Vic Dabao is one of the pioneers in bottle painting which is fast becoming a vogue among art collectors. Vic is willing to conduct tutorials on bottle painting right in Lunduyan.

Dick with artist friends Vic Dabao and John Portugal

Dick had successfully mounted a grand opening exhibit last June 5. “Actually noong May 18 ang talagang opening nito. Meron ding exhibit noon,” Dick clarifies. After the soft opening last May, the artists followed it up with a grander affair which gained support from the artist themselves – Ediefer Gutierrez, Ronald Jeresano, Rommel Ramota, Eunice de Asis, Renan Ortiz, Frits Silorio, Vic Dabao, Egay Fernandez, Piaget Martelino, Maia Magpantay, Boy Dominguez, Julie Po, Papo de Asis, Aed Solis, Kin Misa, Ted Kamahalan, Dan Agustin, Neil Doloricon, Baen Santos, John Paul Olivares.

Even if the interior of the gallery could only accommodate a limited number of enthusiasts, the exhibit cum party proceeded with a big bang by holding the impromptu program by the sidewalk. Truly down to earth, there was a dirty ice cream vendor together with a fish ball vendor which catered the refreshments complemented by gulaman and sago.

Complete with ribbon cutting, the grand opening had also a SONART – state of the nation art – an exhibit statement by all the artists who attended. Here’s an excerpt of the Lunduyan Artists’ SONART…

It is in these repressive times that geniuses should struggle to freely speak. Lunduyan Gallery together with the Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP) presents a loose group of unremorseful artists, one subversively honest theme in a daringly unquiet gallery event.

While it’s almost at the time of the year, when the Arroyo regime is about to stage its SONA (State Of the Nation Address), this exhibition is determined to rip away the hyped and relentless propaganda of the State. The show may sound offensive to some quarters but that’s what partly it intends to do and somewhat part of the Lunduyan’s progression to an alternative art space with alternative political views.

Although the Lunduyan artists admitted that they are activists, they however made it clear that they are not against the good programs of the government. Their freedom of expression, via their art works, is not to sow hate albeit they just wanted to put things in the right perspective. However, not all art works on display are subversive in nature since a great majority is still pure art and non-political.

Dick at work

An upcoming project of the Lunduyan group is an art exhibit cum music. It may be the first of its kind in the country, if not in the world. The planned exhibit will showcase art works like painting or sculpture with backgrounders to be expressed in songs by known singers like Asin, Joey Ayala or Heber Bartolome. It may use existing songs or new songs specially composed for the event. Not clear is the venue which should be a bigger one equipped with sound system and, of course, a stage for the performers.

Proponents of that dream project is in a quandary on whether to formally organize their group or let it remain as a loose group of artists. But as they see it, they may encounter difficulty in getting sponsors if their group has no juridical personality. And how do they cope if the projects get bigger?

To be or not to be, Lunduyan beckons to artists or art enthusiasts to drop by and appreciate the art works on display starting at 10:00 am until night time.

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