These are the times I’m most proud to be a Guamanian. Last night (Tuesday, July 12), a special exhibit opened at the Isla Center for the Arts. Children, patrons of the arts, businessmen, politicians, and people like me who’d never been to an art show before hung our eyes for moments at a time on paintings by the late contemporary artist Adriano Baza Pangelinan, whose work is on display.
The exhibit represents only 25 percent of the known works of the prolific painter, whose art was celebrated internationally and acclaimed in the New York Times. Among the pieces on display are unsigned works, paintings no one but his family had ever seen, and even a painting Tun Adriano sold to the late Speaker Carlos Taitano during the 1958 Liberation Day Parade.
That painting was unique in its color palette. Unlike the rest of the collection, the colors were muted. “It was the ’50s on Guam, so he probably didn’t have access to the watercolors he wanted,” his son, Carlos Pangelinan, said.
On loan to the exhibit is a large piece that, until now, has hung in the home of the late Sen. Elizabeth “Belle” Arriola, who commissioned the painting in 1986. According to a plaque that hangs on the right of the bright acrylic masterpiece is a note stating it was her pride and joy.
My favorite paintings come from a ranch series he did, where among the vibrant depiction of life on Guam are pigs.
Guam comes alive through these stunning works of art that depict this paradise we grew up in. Ranch, beach, and street scenes that tell the story of our island’s advancement over the post-war decades overpower emotions and send patrons home to reflect on the possibilities of our future.
You have to see these paintings. Take your kids and your families and friends. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see greatness up close; and believe me, photographs and video of these masterpieces do them no justice.
The exhibit will run through August 5 at the Isla Center for the Arts (House 15, Dean’s Circle, University of Guam). It is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The tribute was coordinated by public auditor Benjamin F. Cruz, Jr., and by Cliff and Monica Guzman from the Galaide Group.