Continuing Spirit: Alfredo Esquillo

Sunday, 18 Nov 2018, 9 AM to Sunday, 20 Jan 2019, 5 PM

Ambeth R Ocampo Gallery, Elizabeth Gokongwei Gallery, and Alicia P Lorenzo Gallery, 3F Arts Wing, Areté

Admission is free of charge. To book a tour, e-mail us at or call Esty Bagos, Museum Education Officer at 426-6488.

Continuing Spirit: Alfredo Esquillo is a 25-year retrospective curated by artist and mentor, Renato Habulan. The exhibit gathers 37 of Esquillo’s major works that highlights his aesthetic milestones. Since completing his BFA degree at the University of Santo Tomas, Esquillo has focused on representing different aspects of reality, both from within and without. As described by Tessa Maria Guazon:

“The seeing body figures prominently in Alfredo Esquillo’s art. It is metaphor for answering a call to walk the journey of faith. For the artist, the path is firmly grounded in the materialities of the world and the rebukes of history…The pathways that define Alfredo Esquillo’s practice are represented through a vernacular atmosphere of objects and forms, conjured through densities of pictorial space, and rendered in a range of chromatic palettes and perspectival views. These visual devices not only aid a manner of picturing but also infer a way of understanding.”

The exhibit is divided into three sections. Capturing visitors’ attention upon entering the gallery are his imageries of labyrinths, spiritual objects, icons and symbolisms surrounding figures as they pray for survival and salvation. It covers his early works, from his winning paintings in national and international art competitions to his strong devotion to folk religiosity in Quiapo.

Esquillo’s practice also includes the use of materials like plastic and pelon sheets. Featured in the exhibit are his creative experiments of weaving two canvases to form mat patterns and his appropriation and face cut-outs of archival photos using different media. Other works included are his tragicomedy series where he rendered the narratives through theatrical compositions of figures in different spaces.

The exhibit coincides with the launch of Esquillo's self-titled book that chronicles his struggles and triumphs both in life and art. It contains an in-depth biography by Jay Giovanni Bautista, with critical essays on his visual styles by Patrick Flores, Lourd Ernest de Veyra, Tessa Maria Guazon, and the late Alice Guillermo. The book features more than 200 of Esquillo’s masterpieces in full color for scholars and collectors’ review and for everyone’s appreciation.

Continuing Spirit: Alfredo Esquillo runs from 18 November 2018 to 20 January 2019 at the Alicia P. Lorenzo Gallery, Elizabeth Gokongwei Gallery, and Ambeth R. Ocampo Gallery, 3/F Ateneo Art Gallery, Arts Wing, Areté, Ateneo de Manila University.

Media link: Press Release