Purita Kalaw-Ledesma (PKL) evoked the image of the Philippine Art Gallery (PAG) as The Biggest Little Room, in the title of the book that she wrote in 1987. The PAG was established in 1951, a few years after the Art Association of the Philippines was formed. Both organizations shared affinities in their quest for recognition of modern art, at a time when the “conservative” tradition prevailed in Philippine art.
In its 18 years of existence, the PAG offered vital support for the arts, initiating activities such as exhibitions and art sales, lectures and workshops; and drawing from life. Significantly, the PAG served as a safe space that enabled the works and ideas of Neo-Realists, and eventually the PAG group, to flourish. Among these artists were Vicente Manansala, H.R. Ocampo, Cesar Legaspi, Victor Oteyza, and Ramon Estella. Also named in the PAG group were Arturo Luz, Cenon Rivera, and Fernando Zobel. There were three women artists in the crop: Lyd Arguilla, Anita Magsaysay-Ho, and Nena Saguil.
The exhibit Women in the Biggest Little Room gathers the works of Arguilla, Magsaysay-Ho, and Saguil from the PKL Collection, providing us a glimpse of their artistic expressions. Culled diligently by PKL, the archives in this exhibition intimate the artists’ movements and allow us to find the domains they occupied, in an attempt to break free from confinement, in the course of their art and life. Women in the Biggest Little Room may be viewed at the PKL Center from 22 February to 19 July 2019.
The PKL Center is located at the 8th floor of KL Tower, 117 Gamboa St., Legaspi Village, Makati City.
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