Florante at Laura
One of the country's most enduring literary masterpieces, Florante at Laura – written by 19th century poet Francisco Baltazar, also known as Balagtas – serves as the inspiration for an exhibition at the University of the Philippines Jorge B. Vargas Museum this February.
Florante at Laura
The Edge Gallery, 1/F
U.P. Vargas Museum, Roxas Ave.,
U.P. Diliman, Quezon City
One of the country's most enduring literary masterpieces, Florante at Laura – written by 19th century poet Francisco Baltazar, also known as Balagtas – serves as the inspiration for an exhibition at the University of the Philippines Jorge B. Vargas Museum this February. It will be held at the Edge Gallery from February 8 until March 31, 2008.
Celebrating both the visual arts and literature, the Florante at Laura exhibition features 23 figurative paintings based on the different sections of the poem, using the edition edited by National Artist for Literature Virgilio Almario.
The paintings, reflecting a variety of styles, were made by Mark Arcamo, Buen Calubayan, Caña, Salvador J. Ching, Convocar, Marc Cosico, Cris Cruz, Leonilo Doloricon, Egai Fernandez, Alfred Galvez, Sajid Imao, Jon Jaylo, Jerome Malic, Wilfredo Offemaria Jr., Vincent Padilla, Jonathan Rañola, Laya Roman, Don Salubayba, Fernando Sena, Rex Tatlonghari, Roger "Rishab" Tibon, Inna Vitasa and Janice Young.
The artists breathe life to the events chronicled in the epic poem, from Florante being tied up in the forest and menaced by two lions to his dramatic reunion with his beloved Laura. Each artwork is accompanied by a stanza that pertains to the depicted scene.
Adding visual interest is a backdrop that reinforces the period and setting in which Florante at Laura unfolded. Rendered by the artistic team of Alfred Galvez Mural Designs and Finishes, the exhibit design features trompe l'oeil (fool the eye) effects such as faux columns and moldings and baroque decorative elements.
The rich exposition of imagery aims to engage viewers and help them rediscover the celebrated work of Balagtas. The Florante at Laura exhibition is curated and conceptualized by Susan A. de Guzman and Giselle P. Kasilag of Project Art.
Florante at Laura is a Philippine literary classic, deemed an integral part of the Filipino experience. It is a staple in the high school curriculum, with class discussions often leading to more creative pursuits such as dramatizations or the creation of story books. It has also been the subject of theatrical productions, television specials and films.
Beyond the love story between the two lead characters, Florante at Laura is a well-disguised commentary on the ills of society under the Spanish regime as witnessed by Balagtas. The story may be set in the faraway kingdom of Albanya but the conditions it depicts were realities taking place as the Philippines struggled to become a free nation.
The genius of Florante at Laura's author was hailed by no less than national hero Jose Rizal, particularly in his novel Noli Me Tangere where Pilosopo Tasio muses: "Mahusay na makata at mahusay mag-isip si Baltazar" (Baltazar is a great poet and a great thinker).
The Florante at Laura project is the exhibit component of the Komedya Fiesta 2008 1st National Festival, one of the major activities celebrating the UP Centennial. Focusing on Balagtas' signature work is considered an appropriate complement to the festival's theme as Florante at Laura was not only written in the manner of the komedya theatrical tradition, but also because its author was the best known poet of his time.
Komedya Fiesta 2008 is presented by the University of the Philippines Diliman Office of the Chancellor, through the College of Arts and Letters and in cooperation with the Office of Initiatives in Culture and the Arts with the support of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.
For more details about the Florante at Laura exhibition, please contact the UP Vargas Museum at telephone numbers 928-1927/ 981-8500 locals 4024 to 23, or via e-mail at [email protected] or [email protected].
Jorge B. Vargas Museum and Filipiniana Research Center
Roxas Avenue, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City 1101 Philippines
Telephone Numbers: (+632) 928-1927, (+632) 981-8500 locals 4021 to 24
Fax Number: (+632) 928-1925
Email addresses: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]