Art as an expression is subject to a multitude of interpretations. Yet, whatever medium or manner it is composed, it will always aim to inspire wonder, evoke nostalgia, and poke interest at the worldly realm. This, in turn, stirs curiosity that leads to a quest to find meaning in a disintegrated world.
Such is the idea behind multi-awarded visual artist Jeho Bitancor’s debut exhibit at the Iloilo Museum of Contemporary Art (ILOMOCA) at the Iloilo Business park in Mandurriao, Iloilo dubbed as Poetic Dissent: The Artworks of Jeho Bitancor.
For the US-based Filipino contemporary artist, art reflects his social standpoint and struggles. Fueled by passion and shaped by experiences, Bitancor breathes new life and meaning to his artworks by recognizing the “poetic potential” of each subject and highlighting society’s issues bearing social and philosophical significance.
“I have always sought a balance between the manner of expressing my concerns as an artist and articulating my discontent as a human being. I believe that art must embody our highest aspirations in terms of expertise, intellectual rigor, and imagination, yet must also be responsive to and reflective of Zeitgeist or the spirit of the times,” Bitancor said in a statement.
“We are truly honored to host Jeho Bitancor and his masterpieces here at ILOMOCA as part of our commitment to promote the splendid works of Filipino artists. This is also our way of continuing to deepen the role of arts and culture in the development of our townships all over the country,” says Tefel Pesigan-Valentino, vice president for Business Development and Marketing, Megaworld Lifestyle Malls.
The ILOMOCA is Megaworld’s first-ever museum located at Iloilo Business Park, the company’s bustling township development in Western Visayas. The facility proudly embraces the distinction as the first art institution in Visayas and Mindanao exclusively dedicated to showcasing the works of mostly Filipino and Ilonggo artists within the realm of modern and contemporary art.
Utilizing art to unearth ‘poetic potential’
Bitancor’s solo showcase is an articulation of his own brand of creativity and imagination. Employing the beauty of poetry through juxtaposition and metamorphosis, he creates flowing allegories, ironies, parodies, and parallelisms that mirror the standpoint of the present society.
Poetic Dissent is a two-month exhibit featuring Jeho Bitancor’s latest works that will run from September 8 until November 7, 2018. Some of the artworks on display will be on sale, and proceeds will benefit Megaworld Foundation’s charitable causes. A handful of the pieces, meanwhile, are privately owned by ILOMOCA patron, Ed Valencia.
Apart from the exhibit, Jeho Bitancor will also be sharing his ideas via a talk happening in The Box at the 2nd floor of ILOMOCA on Saturday, September 8, 2018, 10:00 a.m.
Painted by Experiences
Hailing from Baler, Aurora in 1967, Bitancor graduated with a Major in Painting and Visual Communications (Advertising) from the College of Fine Arts, University of the Philippines in 1992. After graduating, Bitancor dabbled in big advertising agencies such as McCann Erickson, Avellana and Associates, Philippine Advertising Counselors, Leadcom Asia, and Communication Concepts, among others.
The breakthrough in Bitancor’s career came in the form of an art residency grant in 1997, when he was selected as one of the artists to represent the country and train under the Art Students’ League in New York City.
As a multi-awarded visual artist with local and international recognition, Bitancor mounted 23 solo painting exhibitions. The most recent ones were: Paradox of Living at Altro Mondo Arte Contemporanea, Philippines, 2017; Not So Random Narratives at the Bliss on Bliss Art Projects in New York in 2016, among others. Bitancor is also a recipient of the following awards: 13 Artists Award from the Cultural Center of the Philippines in 2006; Dangal ng Aurora Award as Outstanding Citizen of Aurora in 2005; Award of Recognition for Excellence in Visual Arts from the Museo de Baler, Aurora Province, Philippines; and the Freeman Foundation Asian Artists’ Fellowship Award from Vermont Studio Center, VT, USA in 1997.
Here are some of his artworks;
The institutions housing collections of his artworks are: Singapore Art Museum, Bulwagan ng Dangal UP University Heritage Museum, Ateneo Art Gallery, De la Salle University Museum, National Commission for Culture and the Arts, Cojuangco Museum, Balay Segundo Museum, Museo de Baler, Social Security System Art Collection, and the Iloilo Museum of Contemporary Art.