The Menarco Vertical Museum recently hosted an intimate gathering of close friends and family aptly called “The Unveiling”, with Carmen Jimenez-Ong, Menarco Founder and CEO, together with Silverlens Gallery Founder Isa Lorenzo taking guests on a tour of the museum’s latest acquisitions.

Taking their place among 47 of the most relevant pieces of Filipino contemporary art which presently make up the growing collection were Nona Garcia’s “Overland”,Geraldine Javier’s “Leonard Co”,Poklong Anading’s “Falling & Growing” and Leslie de Chaves’ “Studies of a Portrait of the Artist as Filipino” which Carmen so fittingly describes as “both exquisitely beautiful and excruciatingly painful”.

This stunning five piece work inspired by Nick Joaquin’s legendary play was a seven year labor of love,as Carmen describes it. And it certainly was worth the wait,judging by the reactions of the crowd which gathered in Menarco Tower’s 30th floor Gallery space. “It is a beautiful and painful reminder of the continuous change and reinventions of the Filipino identity versus contemporary issues amid western influences.”, Isa shared.

On the opposite wall of the Gallery was the more quiet yet equally powerful work by Geraldine Javier which pays tribute to the late Leonard Co,recongnized by many as the Father of Philippine Botany who was brutally murdered back in 2010 for his activism in fighting illegal logging and deforestation. His death is still unresolved,and the grief and injustice is so poetically captured by Javier in her work. 

Nona Garcia’s breathtaking piece called “Overland” welcomed guests as soon as they stepped out of the elevators on the 30th floor.Reknowned for her photo realistic painting style,she captures a decaying World War II era American truck stranded and abandoned on a lush mountain top,seemingly being consumed slowly by nature itself.A stark reminder that nothing in the world is permanent,no matter how powerful or influential they may be.

Rounding off the new acquisitions presented was Poklong Anading’s “Falling & Growing”which pushes the idea of concealment further by harnessing interactions from both organic and inorganic forms. One could either infer to as pissing through painting or painting as piss, and involves the accidental abstraction found in the traces of the unceremoniously and barbaric act of urinating against walls. This makes us wonder whether the organic has imposed itself on the synthetic or vice-versa.

The Menarco Vertical Museum finds its home within every floor of the multi-internationally certified Menarco Tower.Hailed as the Healthiest Office and Commercial building in Southeast Asia,the art serves both at inspirational and wellness levels,as research has proven that art in the workplace can increase productivity by as much as 40%.

“The choice to exclusively feature contemporary Filipino artists, particularly those active since 2012, was a deliberate one. Carmen articulates this decision as a strategic move to elevate Filipino art, offering insights into our contemporary life, history, and culture. This approach not only makes the art relatable to younger audiences but also allows it to resonate deeply with those eager to engage with its messages. Jimenez-Ong poses a reflective question, “What purpose does art serve if not shared?” (excerpt from Daven Wu’s feature of the same museum)

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