The formidable power of fine art to stir memories and prompt deep reflection is not lost on the Araneta Group of companies.
This is why the J. Amado Araneta Foundation, the corporate social responsibility arm of the Araneta group, has committed to support SiningSaysay: Philippine History in Art—a milestone exhibit at Gateway Gallery that depicts key moments in Philippine history in 30 large historic and thematic paintings. The exhibit is the result of a five-year collaboration among the University of the Philippines, UP Alumni Association and the Araneta Center.
This year, in time for the 31st anniversary of the People Power revolution, art meets technology with the launch of the digital interface that uses augmented reality to recount Philippine history and make it more interesting to an increasingly digital-savvy generation, particularly the youth.
For the initial phase, 10 paintings from the collection “come to life” on Wi-Fi-enabled digital devices like mobile phones and tablets using the Layar app that can be downloaded for free. Users will then be able to scan the selected paintings on their device to watch the video and hear the narration on chapters of Philippine history.
The videos are accurate historical accounts of events depicted in the paintings. Each video lasts roughly three minutes, with the whole tour lasting about 30 minutes. This launch is just the first phase of an even bigger project to make all 30 paintings in the collection of the Gateway Gallery AR-enabled.
Gateway Gallery opened on Nov. 21, 2014. Its long-term exhibit, “SiningSaysay: Philippine History in Art,” opened to the public on Feb. 18, 2015.
The SiningSaysay artists are: Junyee, Benjie Cabangis, Randy Solon, Bim Bacaltos, Jonal Salvosa, Ding Hidalgo; brothers Simkin and Vincent de Pio with their father Gig de Pio; Janice Young, Aileen Lanuza, Romy Mananquil, Don Artificio, Grace Alfonso, Norman Dreo, Cris Cruz, Romy Carlos, Norly Meimban, Julius Samson, Michael Velasco, Neil Doloricon, Adi Baen-Santos, Ben Infante, Angel Cacnio, Grandier Bella, Dennis Dasco, and the late Abdulmari Asia Imao, National Artist for Visual Arts.
In over two years of operations, the Gallery has grown its art collection to 50 artworks donated by various artists. Attendance has also risen to an average of 200 visitors a day.
Located at the 5th level of the Gateway Tower at the Araneta Center, Gateway Gallery is free to the public and is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
According to Jorge L. Araneta, Chair of the Araneta Group, the continuing commitment to SiningSaysay: Philippine History in Art is part of the Araneta group’s thrust to contribute to nation building.
By keeping history fresh in the minds of Filipinos, it is hoped that the lessons of the past will be taken to heart and used as the foundation on which to build a brighter future for the Philippines.