The Holy Grail 'neath ancient Rosslyn waits
The blade and the chalice o'er her gates
Adorned by the masters' loving art she lies
As she rests beneath the starry skies.
-- Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown
The first time I remember seeing the huge painting was when I was in nursery school. I was---still am---amazed by the bright pinks and vibrant blues... all connected by the undulating white ribbons. Because I'd normally expect masterpieces at this level only accessible when I visit the Philippine National Museum, I always get a kick out of the thought that this is what greets me as I eat lunch at the cafeteria of the International Rice Research Institute:
This painting, and its "twin" which I see on rare occasions, were created by the Philippine National Artist Vicente Manansala. These two paintings has set my bar when I look at paintings by contemporary artists in different museums I visit when I go on new adventures. I always think, "This is what they call art?!? It's falls short of the IRRI Manansala painting!"
These are two of the very few paintings that I like to look at. Probably it's because I love the stained glass feel of the paintings. In technical arts speak, I think they call it "transparent cubism".
So just guess how excited I was when I heard that an event in honor of Vicente Manansala was in the works. I wanted to sit through the symposium about the maestro's life and works but it's an invitation-only event; I had considered watching from outside the room but luckily got invited on the day itself... I didn't need to set up camp on the lobby after all!
But wait, there's more!
I was asked to prepare a presentation to acquaint invited artists before the painting sessions in the morning before the symposium... basically, I was asked to do a shortened version of my talk at the Asia Society HK event. Cool! The Presentation Zen student in me, however, insisted that I needed to adapt my slides to the new audience. So, I prepared a brand new slide deck (using many slides from the Asia Society HK presentation), taking into consideration the time limit, the lighting in the venue for the color scheme (it was pretty dark), and the audience.
After my talk, one of the artists asked me, "Are you an artist?"