Who and what defines women’s image?

These are the questions that were explored in the touring exhibit of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, titled Woman: Thesis and Antithesis. Curated by Yuchengco Museum director Jeannie Javelosa, the exhibit featured artworks that highlight women as subject matter, and celebrated women artists amidst the evident gender divide in the field of visual arts in the Philippines. The exhibit was divided into two sections: the Women in Society collections displayed at the ground floor, and the Women Expressions exhibited at the third floor of Yuchengco Museum.

The Women in Society collection chronicled women’s various roles in society while stimulating the critical thinking of audiences of whether women are represented properly over time. Meanwhile, in the Women Expressions collection, arts have become an extension of women’s expressions on particular issues they face amidst the patriarchal society. Consisting of different feminist overtones, some artworks militantly advocate for shifts and changes in their roles as women and how they are perceived.

Woman: Thesis And Antithesis exhibit opening with (from left) CCP trustee Nikki Junia, CCP chair and Yuchengco Museum Inc member Dr. Jaime Laya, and Yuchengco Museum chairperson Yvonne Yuchengco

The exhibit is part of the CCP touring exhibit series and also marks its first collaboration with the Yuchengco Museum in Makati City.

“For the next three years, the CCP is going to be closed and we are delighted that we have friends just like the Yuchengco Museum with whom we can work so that the CCP can continue its activities in the performing arts, visual arts, literary arts, and the other elements of culture and the arts with which we deal,” said CCP chairperson Jaime C. Laya, who expressed heartfelt gratitude to CCP’s partner organizations in helping the 54-year-old institution continue its mission in the promotion and preservation of the Philippine arts and culture.

Yvonne Yuchengco, chairperson of the Yuchengco Museum, Inc, has been delighted to open its doors to CCP while its main building is undergoing rehabilitation. “The Yuchengco Museum is very happy to host this first of many succeeding exhibits, highlighting our culture, our country’s visual arts collection from the Cultural Center of the Philippines. The museum reached out to the CCP when it heard that it would be closed due to renovation. We have been working closely with the CCP team on how our collaboration can showcase the rich art pieces as some of them have been kept stored for some time,” shared chairperson Yuchengco.

Museum guests enjoy the featured artworks at the Yuchengco Museum

The exhibit, in a way, raises the conversation on the prevailing issues on gender gaps among Filipino artists.  “In the Philippines, we have 17 Filipino visual artists who were named and conferred the national artist awards, and all of them are male. While the other arts fields such as music, dance, theater, and film, have women national artists, visual arts have always been dominated by male artists. This showed that there has been a huge gender gap to be filled. We as a nation should do something with this gender gap. Woman: Thesis and Antithesis looks at this issue and hopes to start an enriching conversation on the gender divide,” shared CCP trustee Michelle Nikki Junia. 

The exhibit runs until June 24, 2023, at the Yuchengco Museum located at the RCBC Plaza, corner Ayala Avenue and Senator Gil J. Puyat Avenue in Makati City. Visiting schedule is Monday to Sunday, from 10am to 6pm.

Entrance fee for adults is Php100, with discounted price of Php50 for students, seniors and PWDs.  Free admission days are April 29, May 20, and June 24, when there are public programs. 

On April 29, 3pm, there will be an open dialogue on the history of the CCP Visual Arts Collection, as written in the 2018 publication Cultural Cache, and its current status as the CCP 21AM Collection. 

National Artist Vicente Manansala’s Mother and Child

Art educators will converse on how the image of the woman is portrayed by artists across different periods in Philippine art history and in different mediums. Using the works featured in the exhibition, guests will discuss common themes and depictions in relation to gender representation in art. The forum will happen on May 20, 3pm. 

Selected Thirteen Artists Awards women recipients, who foreground woman and womanhood as subject matter, gather on June 24, 3pm, to talk about generational differences in art-making and expressions of the feminine. 

For more information on the exhibit, check out the official CCP and CCP Visual Arts and Museum Division Facebook accounts. Follow CCP social media accounts in Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok.

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