On the occasion of the 117th anniversary of the proclamation of Philippine independence, the Philippine Embassy mounted painting exhibits of famed Filipino artist Manuel Baldemor from 6 to 11 June 2015 in Ottawa and Montreal.
Nearly 100 artworks of the illustrious painter made up the simultaneous one-man shows entitled Images of the Homeland in Ottawa and Montreal.
In Ottawa on 9 June 2015, Baldemor’s Homeland series adorned the halls of the National Gallery of Canada during the national day reception hosted by Philippine Ambassador Petronila P. Garcia. Representatives from the federal government, diplomatic corps, private sector and Filipino community viewed Baldemor’s works with admiration for his style, subject and choice of colors.
In Montreal, the Philippine Embassy partnered with the Maison de la culture Côte-des-Neiges, through the good offices of Mayor Russell Copeman and Councillor Marvin Rotrand, to bring, for the first time in recent memory, Philippine visual arts to the cultural capital of Quebec, the largest French-speaking province in North America. Baldemor’s paintings were presented at the Centre de Ressources Communautaire de Côte-des-Neiges on 6-11 June 2015. Ambassador Garcia co-hosted a finissage with Mayor Copeman and Councillor Rotrand to celebrate Philippine independence day with the Filipino community.
From many-hued renditions of the iconic jeepney and the kalesa to young Filipino maidens and lively musicians, Images of the Homeland struck a nostalgic chord among the exhibit’s Filipino-Canadian audience while eliciting high praises from a French-Canadian visitors.
For Linda Agcaoili, Baldemor’s paintings were magnificent works that allowed her to see the Philippines without leaving her present home city. Amelia Anam Manon-og hailed Baldemor as “The People’s Artist” and joined many of her Filipino compatriots in expressing pride in his “works of love” that represented the “Filipino personality”. Frans Tolento Liganor encouraged Baldemor to “continue painting for the world.” The artist’s French-Canadian admirers were equally profuse in their compliments. Formidable, incroyable, merveilleux, tres belles, and magnifique were among the superlatives inscribed in the exhibition guest book. Invariably, visitors to the show commended the visiting artist for his talent, devotion to the arts and passion for Filipino culture.
“Mr. Manuel Baldemor’s works will be gracing public spaces for the first time in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. Our featured artist has endeared himself to the Philippine foreign service as an ambassador of goodwill to over 35 countries (and counting), as well as the United Nations. His works depict Filipino folk culture and traditions in ways that a thousand words cannot capture,” Ambassador Garcia remarked.