Butuan’s out of the box art gallery

BUTUAN CITY (MindaNews/03 July) — It’s absolutely far-out, both in terms of concept and exhibition. Count in its location and isolation. But painter Jon Honculada’s home is a product of art itself and of no surprise if it became a sanctuary of art.

Called Halo Art Gallery, a name inspired from the installation piece of a monitor lizard brilliantly done by sculptor Ernesto E. Benolirao, a photo op beside it is as good as a steal.

Ernesto E. Benolirao with his works. Photo courtesy of Joma Bungabong
Ernesto E. Benolirao with his works. Photo courtesy of Joma Bungabong

There are no glass walls – in fact there are no walls at all – no spotlights, at least not yet anyway, to highlight each painting big and small, nothing of the so-called high-end and First World types. This one is a humble representation of the homegrown.

A huge canvas of a lotus at the back side entrance always draws me and I keep wishing to have it (or someone else) but I also hope it hangs there forever. Some small paintings, mostly water-based plants done by Jon compliment the nooks and corners, beside the staircase, atop the tables and aparador. “There is no art but all art like the Earth” so goes my favorite quote.

Benolirao’s wood and mixed media sculptures bring to life indigenous ancient characters and mysterious spirits like brave datus, diwatas and warriors turned heroes turned villains turned heroes (like Banog of Butuan’s musical-play, Lawig Balanghai, written by Fe Remotigue).

03halogallery (10)I was tempted to ask Jon, a Fine Arts graduate of University of Santo Tomas if this was part of the plan or an experiment of transition or simply a way of evolving. “I’ve been encouraged and inspired by this transformation because some of my colleagues say this would maybe  put Butuan in the art map,” he said. I plead guilty to this, because hey, if national artist Bencab has his own, why not our local master?

One day, I told Jon, I envision select art patrons and enthusiasts trooping to Alindahaw drive of Alviola Village, where Halo Gallery is. That one day may never too far. (Ramon Jorge Sarabosing/MindaNews)

Postscript: Interested buyers and viewers are advised to call in advance for visits to the gallery.