HomeAnamnesis of the Mourning Octopus in the House of Fear and Magic



JUNE 30 - JULY 12, 2021


Written by Jay Bautista


In the beginning was the word. And the word became flesh.

A chosen word—one that is the artist feels strongest about—was used to trigger his or her imagination and created their paintings. Deeply-rooted in art history, the most powerful paintings are those that were created by their respective personal taboos. Six contemporary artists step up the plate and came up with the group exhibition cleverly put together—as Anamnesis of The Mourning Octopus In The House of Fear and Magic— a random gathering of artworks from words used by each artist then created an image or a humble yet realist slaying of his ghosts.

Each artist was triggered by a respective word occupying them at the moment and from there, those words initiated the artists to come up with a painting.

Anamnesis is the word chosen by Ian Quirante as he depicted his raw and fresh artistic evocations of the sublime. Using profound illustrations and oil painting, Quirante reprises a middle state between reality and dream; of being half-awake to pinching himself that it hurts. Eliciting memories from past, as well as confronting the near future–anamnesis is that sort of mid-reality of dreams and real-life, it is that state of spontaneity that even a lady once confronted him that she had dreamt about it. From this work evident Quirante was heavily influenced by artists H. Bosch, Moebius and and Giger.

Morning After Mourning is Kim Hamilton Sulit confronting mortality, being gravely affected by his grandmother’s death during the pandemic. A powerful ethereal work depicting the beauty of impermanence, Sulit learned her importance when she passed on after living with her all her life. Once in a while, Sulit stops off his tracks and fondly reminisces her. A haunting piece done in mixed media and serigraph, Sulit is most effective with irony. How can you not miss someone who was always with you.

Octopus is the safe word of Emman Acasio’s firstborn. Suffering from global developmental disorder (GDD), the word comforts him whenever he is stressed or depressed. Not Today wherein Acasio fondest wish is for his son to be healed from his medical deficiency. Uttered by his son as a comfort word to connote all are fine and okay, Acasio is fine as long as his son is.

Done in stark white, Acasio’s surreal tendencies manifest in octopus as a symbol of resilience and surviving life in dignity. As an artist, one must continue to create, and one must go on loving—until it hurts.

Lui Gonzales describes the feeling of home more in the company of friends. One’s feelings belonging in camaraderie more than blood relations. In Seeking for Solace done in 5 layers of cutouts and rip-offs, Gonzales unravels layers of her being as she reveals herself while she tears permanently her material as she relives the feeling of longing and belonging among kindred spirits.

Related to his word fear is Gam-Ol and Armas, two works by Michael Delmo which depicts fear as his trigger word. Delmo who recently married feared his mortality sliding up on him as the corona virus took its toll. A fatalist, Delmo consider himself lucky to still paint at least another more painting, in a day.

Michael Villagante relates to Delmo’s longing for the day that coronavirus will go away like his trigger word, Magic. Sana Bukas represents that wish by Villagante to heal the land so we could reclaim our old lives back. Done in subdued hues, Villagante is at his peak whenever he is provoked or even subdued. An award-winning artist he still shies from the limelight despite his accolades. This Florence-bound painter is a master of color and utter symbolisms as detailed by the presence of skulls and snakes evoking science and knowledge.

Rendered in almost surreal expressions, Anamnesis of the Mourning Octopus in the House of Fear and Magic proved that an artist is very much influenced by words, and that brought concepts to create a new world. Once in a while as respite—it is hoped that artists need to be in tune with their senses and ponder what really affects their being, not just as creative beings but as human beings—first and foremost.

It is expected that something bigger will be gathering more surreal artistry and like-minded individuals together once again in the near future. Advancing a word forward—one concept or a kept feeling—after another.