‘Pangasinan ed Pusok’
(Pangasinan in my Heart)
April 5 to May 2, 2016, Bengson House, Lingayen, Pangasinan
MEET THE MAESTRO: Romi MananQuil
BY RACHELLE CRUZ ON APRIL 13, 2016
The honey-coloured yellow walls brightened the living interiors, spotlights beaming at his paintings. Like a mini art gallery, his works of art formed a cultural mosaic that made its way through each room, from the moment you walk in. “Maestro” Romeo Mananquil, also known as Romi, invited us to his Mississauga residence, his home radiating familiar warmth, as each painting imbued a sense of nostalgia, drawing back to his roots of Philippine subjects and landscapes, recounting his life experiences as a young boy in his homeland.
Unique Pinoy Roots in a “Neticized” World
MananQuil’s present works delineate unique Pinoy roots that continue to transcend the dictates of a “neticized” world gone berserk with the internet and other insensate products of technology.
GEOGRAPHIC distance can affect the operations of the head, heart and hands either way. Alienation from one’s old environment can lead to another kind of alienation in a new environment. Identity loss impends. A new persona bids entry into one’s old self. Inner conflict results. Resolute must the person be: to cling on to the past, or shake of the previous identity and put on a mask of a person reborn.
Romeo C. MananQuil met an unpaintable culture shock when he decided to relocate his family to Canada in 1985. Everything was alien to him. And he was an alien to everybody. He landed a job as a visual artist – his passport to that subcontinent covering 9,922.33 sq. km. However, he had to grapple with nostalgia. All that he could do to connect with the old country was to reminisce his happy and successful life and career in the third world country of his birth.
Cultural dichotomy identified the old and the new, the third and first worlds. He had to find a connection somewhere. Somehow. And he found it.