• The Pasig Review

The Colorful World of the Pasig Art Club

From the desk

It has been said that Pasig’s lasting contribution to art is itself for numerous paintings, music compositions and poems were written to celebrate the existence of a charmed town named after the river. With this, a lot were inspired to contribute to this celebration and partake in the glorification of Pasig either in big or small ways. Such is the Legacy of the Pasig Art Club – the oldest art collective in the Philippines and probably in Asia.

The art club was brought about by the Americanization of culture and interest in postwar Philippines. The peacetime society that is filled with optimism coupled up with the country’s progressive stance towards the arts led in the development of art groups that aimed to capture the beauty of the nation and the splendor of one of the proclaimed cultural corridors of the continent. However, the club with an objective to integrate American Upbringing with the indigenous values of the Filipinos decided to focus their brush strokes to depict Pasig Town’s greatest jewels, its history and people.

How the group came to be is as legendary as the illustrious artists that inspired its birth. The likes of Fernando Amorsolo, Carlos “Botong” Francisco and Guillermo Tolentino organized soirees in the Pasig atelier of Ambrosio Morales professor of sculpture of the UP School of Fine Arts. With this, the professor invited the Pasigueno Artists in the circle to learn the latest techniques in the visual arts and then on had sketching trips in the different places in Rizal and Manila that would usually last several days at a time. The trips together with the inspiration they got from rubbing elbows with the giants of Philippine Art motivated the informal fellowship to develop a more moving concept that brought about the founding of the Pasig Art Club in July 28, 1957 at the Bahay na Tisa in San Jose, Pasig City.

The past 53 years saw the passing of great art fellows which includes, Federico Estrada – a muralist, Cenon Rivera – a Rome-trained stained glass artist that made the stained glasses in the Dambana ng Kagitingan in Bataan, Nemesio Dimanlig – the country’s first philatelic artist and others. With the rise of interest in the Filipiniana Art Genre, the club organized annual art exhibits with Botong Francisco as a regular participant. The Headquarters of the Boy Scouts – Rizal Council (middle of the National Bookstore and Jolibee Fast-food) is the usual venue of such showcases. The memorable exhibits and many more throughout the years prompted Col. Jose Tan-Angeles to state that the club is the first formally organized art club in Asia to hold public art exhibits.

The club remains unmoved to this day, with Tess Dimanlig-Torda as Club President. Exhibits remained an important annual event for the club and in fact even organized their anniversary exhibit at the Pasig Museum weeks before the quarantine lockdowns brought about by the Covid19 Pandemic. Summer workshops and sketching excursions organized by the club continue to attract new generations of Pasiguenos to explore the artistic life that the art club enjoys to live with. With senior artists such as Jun Motifar and Ace Dimanlig bring their talents to inspire more art pupils, the younger set like Derrick Macutay and the rest provide the club new flavors and approaches that mixes with the group’s traditional tapestry and cultural DNA.

Pasig Art Club is one of the few organizations in Pasig which we can always be proud off.

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