Art, Exhibit, West Wing Gallery (Edge)

The President’s Office

08 January – 09 February 2013
G/F West Wing Gallery

Opening cocktails
08 January 2013, Tuesday, 4PM

Malacanang Palace, as the site of the Office of the President is recognized as a space related to authority, power, and a democratic tradition, among other things. However, while officially a space that is open to all, the exigencies of practical operation and security effectively bar the majority from entering the space. Hence, the seat of power is obscured from scrutiny save for a few glimpses as can be gained from occasional public broadcasts or inferred from documents such as those that roughly describe it in terms of architecture. Moreover, what we learn of what goes on in Malacañang is understandably mediated by discourses of confidentiality and national security and as such is almost always in shades of carefully controlled publicity. In addition to this heavy mediation, the permanent barricade preventing access to Malacañang from Mendiola cannot but add a sense of exclusion that compounds our perceived distance from the seat of power.

Buen Calubayan, Landscape Eternal 1, Oil on canvas, 24 x 72 in

Buen Calubayan, Landscape Eternal 1, Oil on canvas, 24 x 72 in

Not unlike Bluebeard’s forbidden room, such spaces induce an explorative curiosity in those barred from entry. More importantly, this exclusion renders Malcañang as an effective blind spot in the imagination, as a space upon which we can but project images based on related histories, hearsay, or suppositions.

It is with consideration for this character of Malacañang as an imaginative blind spot that the participating artists took on the task of representing the Presidential Office. Their construction of the interior features and contents of the Presidential Office are informed by their perceptions of its functions, significations, and history. In turn, as representations that serve as reflections of their own imaginations, the works also function as indices of the expectations, fantasies, and perceived relationships that overlay our collective imaging of the seat of power.

The exhibition is part of a working series entitled ‘Blind Spots,’ which explores restricted spaces as sites of imaginative construction.

The President’s Office runs until 09 February 2013. For more information, please contact Vargas Museum at +632 928-1927 (direct line), +63 981-8500 loc. 4024 (UP trunkline), +63 928-1925 (fax) or send an e-mail to You may also check our website at or like us at for more information.

About Jorge B. Vargas Museum

It aims to preserve its collection donated by Jorge B. Vargas and conducts research, exhibitions, publications, and educational programs. The Vargas Museum and Filipiniana Research Center houses a museum, archives, and library devoted to the Philippine history, art, and culture from the late 19th century until the post-war era. Its main beneficiaries are students, faculty, researchers and scholars of the Philippines and Asia.



  1. Pingback: Lupa: Struggle for Land Exhibit at Vargas Museum | ISLANG MALAYA - March 10, 2013

  2. Pingback: Exhibit: The President’s Office at Vargas Museum | ISLANG MALAYA - March 10, 2013

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Ms. Portia Placino's Art Studies 1 class visits the museum for a lecture in Art History. #VargasVisits Taos-puso ang pakikiramay ng Vargas Museum sa mga naiwan ni Eduardo “Mang Ed” G. Makiling Sr. na sumakabilang-buhay nitong Pebrero 7, 2016. Matagal na panahong naglingkod si Mang Ed sa pamilya ni Jorge Vargas. Kasama siya nang ilipat ang Koleksiyong Vargas mula sa estado ng mga Vargas sa Kawilihan sa Mandaluyong papunta sa Unibersidad ng Pilipinas noong 1987. Mula noon, naging kawani na siya ng museo, katuwang ang maraming manggagawang dumating at lumisan sa loob nang mahigit sa dalawang dekada. Naging bahagi si Mang Ed ng ilang daang eksibisiyon, aktibidad na pansining at pangkultura, at pang-araw-araw na daloy ng trabaho sa museo. Patunay sa kanyang kasipagan ang kanyang parangal bilang Natatanging Kawani na iginawad sa kanya ng Philippine Association of Museums, Inc. ilang taon ang nakaraan. Mapagkakatiwalaan, matapat, may pagkukusa at malasakit – ilan lamang sa mga katangian ni Mang Ed na sisikapin naming ipagpadayon sa aming gawain. 
Sa mga nais magpahatid ng dasal at tulong at para malaman ang detalye ng lamay at libing, mangyaring makipag-ugnayan sa amin simula sa Martes sa 928-1927 o 
Hanggang sa muli, Mang Ed! ****
Ang larawan at ang personal na tala (sa ibaba) ay mula kay Dominic Mangila sa kanyang eksibisiyon sa Vargas noong Nobyembre 2015: 
Mang Ed taken around 7 in the morning at Vargas. 
When I heard that he had been working at Vargas for so many years, I wanted to take a photograph of him doing a gesture that he had done thousands (or perhaps in a million) times for many years. I wanted to capture the beauty of the act of his dedication to paying attention to the surface of the glass as he would pause to inspect closer if dirt or dust was wiped away. I found it to be a very 'painterly' gesture. If my exhibition or art has a purpose at that point, I wanted it to at least record something that was beautiful and poetic - which I found in the gesture of Mang Ed as he navigated around the glass panels of Vargas. It was a constant art form/performance/act taking place for many years before the museum door opened. And I felt it would be awesome for the audience to see that gesture captured in photography... It's a gesture th Students from the Holy Family School of Quezon City, Inc. visited the museum yesterday for their English for Academic and Professional Purposes class. #VargasVisits Artist walk-through of Sergio Bumatay III for his exhibition "Anima: A Picturebook in Space"
#vargasmuseum #bookillustration #animaproj #animaph #contemporaryart #sergiobumatay

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