In this exhibition, selected creative works of Riel have been put together to remind the audience of his contributions in the field.
Riel’s Facebook posts from January to August 2021 have been compiled and organized for ease of dissection and interpolation. They are divided into six parts: 1. Artistic Career and Journey; 2. Dialogues and Discourses; 3. Wounded Soul and Triumphant Spirit; 4. Visions and Foresight; 5. Unfinished Projects; and 6. To Whom He Dedicates. These six categories hopefully reflect Riel’s thought processes.
“Artistic Career and Journey” offers a short but comprehensive glimpse of Riel’s experiences and influences which he was always happy to share. This was an exceptional trait, given that many creatives tend to be quite secretive or silent about their sources. Riel took a different stance as a self-proclaimed constant learner.
“Dialogues and Discourses” presents the main body of Riel’s vast knowledge in the creative field, tackling topics both important and trivial, and offering practical and on-point solutions.
“Wounded Soul and Triumphant Spirit” portrays Riel as a man who suffered much under various circumstances, but whose durable mind and heart reinvigorated him and allowed him to transform from a confrontational instigator to a calm Zen-like guru in the last months of his life. One might argue that love won him over upon meeting Joyce Campomanes. Riel became more forgiving, but we should also remember that he was an existentialist who embraced the world as it was. He knew that his time was short and was not afraid of it. Anyone could dismiss him, but nobody could deny his body of work.
“Unfinished Business” comprises Riel’s advocacies and projects that his followers wish he had the time to complete. He himself had said on several occasions that he intended to have all this material published posthumously.
Lastly, “To Whom He Dedicates” displays graphite portraits in a sketchbook and separate sheets of paper and canvas of Riel’s friends whom he believed were unselfish in their efforts at sharing their knowledge and expertise in the community. He felt a close affinity with these people, who served as the sounding board for his ideas and visions before he came out with them in public.
These serve as a prelude to the second component of this exhibition, which presents the portraits Riel made alongside his replicated studio, vision board, and the artworks of the individuals he portrayed.
In response to Riel’s visual love letter, selected artists produced statements in both visual and literary forms about who Riel Hilario was and is for them as a friend and colleague. The participating artists are as follows: Agnes Arellano, Pandy Aviado, Alfredo Juan Aquilizan, Billy Bonevie, Laya Boquiren, Jinggoy Buensuceso, Noel Bueza, Richard Buxani, Joyce Campomanes, June Dalisay, Remigio David, Anton del Castillo, Ricky Francisco, Ayka Go, Toym Imao, Paul David Magisa, Glenn Martinez, DengCoy Miel, Kublai Milan, Jason Moss, Aze Ong, Ian Quirante, Gromyko Semper, Angela Silva, Ethel Villafranca, Jun Villalon, and Jayrous Villanueva.
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