UP Vargas Museum and Metropolitan Museum of Manila opened two new exhibitions last 21 April. Curated by Dr. Patrick Flores, Fascination with Filipiniana: The Vargas Museum Collection and In the Wake of War and the Modern: Manila, 1941 to 1961 feature the comprehensive collection of the Jorge B. Vargas Museum and Filipiniana Research Center of the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City.
Fascination with Filipiniana examines the body of works that Jorge Vargas accumulated through time, a period which coincided with significant years in Philippine history, before and after World War II. The collection of paintings, memorabilia, stamps, books, and coins highlights the intertwining role of Vargas as a civic leader, an art collector, and a Filipiniana connoisseur. With a historical figure passionate in both the arts and politics, the relevance of Vargas’s place in Philippine art history expands beyond the birth of a museum to rebuilding a nation from the ravages of war.
Weaving the collections of the Vargas Museum and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas together, In the Wake of War and the Modern: Manila, 1941 to 1961 revolves around the relationship between Jorge Vargas and the city of Manila. The exhibit traces remarkable milestones for Jorge Vargas: From 1941, when he was appointed as Mayor of Manila under the Japanese Forces to 1961, when he became Regent of the University of the Philippines, to which his collection was donated. During this period, what is now known as ‘Mabini Art’ prospered in the eponymous street, where the Metropolitan Museum of Manila is now located. The district surrounding Mabini Street burgeoned into a community that sold paintings bearing semblance to the style of Fernando Amorsolo, whose works were patronized by Jorge Vargas. The exhibit explores the history of Philippine art collection in the context of institutions such as the Vargas Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Manila, University of the Philippines, and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
Fascination with Filipiniana: The Vargas Museum Collection and In the Wake of War and the Modern: Manila, 1941 to 1961 is on view at the ground floor galleries of the Metropolitan Museum of Manila until July 21. For inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.