Art exhibit highlights Monastery of Transfiguration’s 29th anniversary

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/08 August) — The Monastery of Transfiguration, perhaps this city’s most popular religious as well as tourist destination, celebrated its 29th founding anniversary on August 6 with an art exhibit by Vicente Barreto Jr. as highlight.

Dubbed “Idyll,” the exhibit features visions of “simplicity, peace, contentment, and innocence in the monastery.”

The exhibit formally opened Monday night with local and national guests led by Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) president Cecilia B. Garrucho.

Organizers described the 22-piece oil and acrylic paintings exhibit as “depicting beautiful monastic scenes” and “good for the monastic and art enthusiasts.”

The paintings were completed in eight months after the artist made many visits to the monastery, joined the monks in prayer and experienced silence.

“Each artwork reflects God’s mercy and power, and inspired the kind of prayer and serenity that one longs for in the midst of a busy life,” the briefer on the exhibit said.

“We are overwhelmed with the support of everybody,” said Barreto, who painted the monastery’s “Transfiguration”, an altar mural in 1983.

Most of the paintings had been sold out even before the exhibit opened, Adeliza Barreto, the artist’s wife said.

Idyll means a piece of art, music, or prose depicting an idealized pastoral or rural scene.

Barreto’s recent works depict contemporary scenes at the monastery like “Kindness and Truth Meet, Psalm 5” a 33 x40.5 centimeter piece using oil on canvass, which features the signboard at the entrance of the monastery. “Univocal Innocence,” where he used acrylic on canvas, depicts one of the buildings in the compound.

The other popular pieces in the exhibit feature the activities of the monks inside the monastery.

In “Intrinsic” the painter shows a monk reading next to a bushy area.

In “Only in God be at rest” and “My Joy and My Delight” the monks are shown bending in prayer.

“I am the Lord’s Servant” shows a monk praying while standing, and in “Pastoral Song” a monk can be seen sitting next to a stream.

The exhibit demystifies the popular notion that monastic life is simply one spent on prayer.

“Coherence,” which is one of the biggest works on display, depicts monks as farmers too, and “Wisdom of the Heart” shows them studying in a library.

The monastery is popular for its coffee and peanut products, which are sold in department stores nationwide.

Barreto is also a sculptor. He finished his fine arts degree at the University of Santo Tomas.

His other works include “Paghusay”, a mural at the Malaybalay city court; “Last Judgment”, a mural at Our Lady of Presentation Church in Cabadbaran, Agusan del Norte; Ereccion del Pueblo, a tableau of sculptures at Rizal Park in Malaybalay City depicting the surrender of local tribal leaders to Spanish authorities.

Some of Barreto’s paintings are on display at the Jesuit Retreat House in this city. He also has paintings of tribal Bukidnons in his private collections.

He carved the bust of Capt. Ramon Onahon at the Philippine National Police provincial headquarters which was named after him (Onahon).

For more information about the exhibit, contact Mr. Barreto at 09399236182 or Dom Martin Gomez at (088)2212373 and

The exhibit runs from August 6 to September 9 at the Museum of Transfiguration Monastery in San Jose, Malaybalay City. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)