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July 05, 2004

Artist Nunelucio Alvarado (b.1950) is a social realist from Fabrica, Negros Occidental. His work is considered by many as some of the most powerful images in Philippine contemporary art. Because of his art and the organizational work he does for his fellow artists in Negros, Alvarado has managed to put his province in the art world map.

There are two sides to Alvarado’s art: the dark, menacing social realism where “imperialism” and “feudalism” reeks its ugly head on its victims and the light, gaiety of Fabrica’s townsfolk, where the daily struggle of survival is romanticized in bright colorful canvasses.

In this exhibition, wittingly entitled DAILY BREAD, Alvarado prepared seven canvasses of different sizes for a small show at the Mezzanine of the Hiraya Gallery.

At all times, the artist is fully aware of the details of his color combinations and the manifold elements of his compositions: where multi-colored checkered linen is set against the familiar textures of the handwoven mats, where purple scarves are dramatically placed beneath blue skies… Alvarado’s typical geometric humans are unreal yet ridden with so much character and spirit with their typical bright piercing eyes, heavy-set toes and arms that hint at the rigors of toil. All is set amidst a backdrop of sugar cane fields, workman tools, of women and babies trading flowers, fruits, fish and fowl.

His canvasses reveal his characteristic, irresistible dark wit — where there is the roasted pig, one sees a hungry dog; where there are women chatting, there is that fearful mice pursued by a hungry cat or mean-looking
lizard playfully injected into the otherwise peaceful picture.

Art is all that matters for Alvarado who has become merely a medium to an art larger than himself. He is a well-seasoned artist exhibiting since 1975. The archetypal imagery his works are most known for, reflect the psychic plunges of deep despair and of a higher wisdom for a man unafraid of life. His pure artistic energy generates power that resounds in every canvass he fulfills — whether it be the idyllic scenes of his hometown or the dark terrain of the social ills of his people.

DAILY BREAD opens at the Hiraya Gallery on June 28 and runs until July 15. Hiraya Gallery is located at 530 United Nations Avenue, Ermita, Manila. Gallery hours are from 9 to 5 Monday to Saturday. For more information tel/fax 523-3331 or email us at or visit our website