Bulacan-based Rodel Tapaya, considered one of his generation’s most promising visual artists, broke out in the art scene by earning the renowned Asia Pacific Breweries Foundation Signature Art Prize in 2011. The following year, he was awarded the CCP Thirteen Artists Award. Since then, he has had international exhibitions and has gained critical endorsement and recognition.
His mural-like, large-format works explore the meanings of the dynamic and limitless symbolism of archaic Philippine myths and legends and connect them to the modern world. For most art collectors, his work seems to view the world through an ancient storyteller’s eyes but has mastered isolating particular aspects and arranging them in dramatic combinations.
He mounts his latest solo exhibition at The Drawing Room in Makati called “May Tenga ang Lupa” (The Land has Ears). The show’s title is an aphorism that prompts us that contemporary realities have ancient roots and that nonhuman actors matter in telling the narrative.
His familiar large-scale and experimental new works like sculptures made of epoxy, sawdust, wood, and metal explore the rich mythology and culture of the Philippines and weave them into contemporary issues such as environmental damage, urban poverty, and land scar.
The highlight of the exhibit is his 2022 work, “May Tenga ang lupa, May Pakpak ang balita.” The prominent figure in the massive work is a reimagined Macario Sakay, with eyes on his long hair and spread-out wings that recall the iconic gesture of the man in a painting by Francisco Goya titled Third of May, 1808. Sakay, who commanded the remnants of the revolutionary forces during the Philippine-American War, anticipated how the battle would rage long after they died in the frontier of historical revisionism.
“May Tenga ang Lupa” (The Land has Ears) is on view until July 9, 2022 at Drawing Room Manila, Karrivin Plaza, Chino Roces Avenue Ext., Makati.
Notes about the contributor
Art enthusiast and into Fashion, French Culture, Mid-century modern design and spends a lot of his time curating his home in Manila and LA. He lives with his 3 dogs, Coco, Yohji and Junya.