To say that Gil Francis Maningo is a multi-disciplinary artist is an understatement. This Cebuano wears many hats: as a photographer, a composer, an actor, a recording artist under the OctoArts label, graphic artist in the Chicago Sun Times Magazine, the founder of the brand of shirts dubbed as KULAS (Kusog ug Ligi-on ang Sugbuanon), a student of National Artist Jose Joya and Martino Abellana (“the Amorsolo of the South”), an ardent admirer of American-Indian art, a caricaturist and a visual artist. But for Gil, every role, well, practically everything is a manifestation of grace. And “to experience the illumination of grace in every aspect of life” is the message of his art.
Gil says that his faith in God’s plan gives him the courage to overcome challenges and fears. “Every person has something they cherish, whether conceptual, abstract, or tangible — lavish or miserly. It is a requirement in life that one holds dear to something. But we realize our treasure only when we step out and experience life as an adventure.”
Life is an adventure and Gil’s canvases are adventurous and colored with lightheartedness and controlled abandon. According to the artist: the tedious process of experimentation is an externalization of the gift of curiosity. “During the process of experimenting, one stumbles. But such is life.” Gil’s work exudes “a knight’s courage and a courtier’s confidence.” An observer notes how the artist’s works embody sprezzatura, which means a certain effortlessness, careless grace, a studied nonchalance. Gil’s works “conceal the conscious effort that went into each piece, often done with difficulty. Ultimately, with awe expressed, we are held as its audience.”
Viewers will get to see Gil Maningo’s adventurous forays in color and composition in “Foveo,” an exhibition of 19 paintings presented in cooperation by Robinsons Land’s ArtAblado in conjunction with Art Circle Gallery as part of National Arts Month. “Foveo,” which means “to cherish” in Latin, is on view until Feb. 25 at Level 3, near Sumosam, Robinsons Magnolia. The opening reception will be held on Feb. 18, Saturday.
The culmination of the show is a painting workshop to be facilitated by the artist and is open to 50 participants. Aspiring painters need to download the RMalls+ app and register; collect the free painting workshop voucher; and present the voucher code at the registration area.
RMalls Academy is Robinsons Malls’ learning platform. It aims to give fun and educational classes for everyone. This initiative gives the opportunity to mall-goers to maximize their learning potential and achieve their personal goals while inside Robinsons Malls. RMalls Academy offers various programs such as performing arts, visual arts, and different sports activities.
The workshop will give participants the chance to embark on artistic adventures of their own and maybe someday be like Gil: an artist who has “mastered the ebb and flow of allowing things to fall into place” and “one who surrenders as a medium of the Divine.”
That sense of play, the giving in to a higher self — to be experienced by the Gil Maningos in the making — are the reasons why painting is so undeniably fun and fulfilling.