‘Unparalleled access’: Salcedo exhibit narrates unheard tales from Philippine history

August 30, 2023 - 10:40 AM
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Anting-anting or amulets, pre-colonial gold jewelry, and other artifacts make up an exhibit that was unveiled to the public for the first time at an auction house in Makati City.

The exhibit “Public Art, Private Lives” holds an extensive range of objects of antiquity that Union Bank President Edwin Riego Bautista and his wife Aileen Beltrano Bautista have acquired for many years.

Curated by Floy Quintos, it was launched at the Salcedo Auction House inside NEX Tower in Makati City on August 24.

Their collection comprises pre-colonial jewelry, amulets, revolutionary weapons with intricate designs and other rare materials. These items tell stories and snippets of Philippine history that are obscure to most people.

The Bautista couple decided to share their collection with others as part of their advocacy to contribute to the country’s evolving nationhood and Filipino identity.

Edwin and Aileen also hoped to offer guests and visitors new perspectives on the Philippines’ past.

In a statement, Salcedo Auctions’ chairman and chief specialist Richie Lerma expressed delight for having the opportunity to collaborate with the Bautistas.

“The transformative work of the couple in their professional careers has truly made a mark in the lives of so many. And so, it gives me great pleasure to have Salcedo work with them to have their finer, more private pursuits contributing in their own way to the country’s cultural landscape by providing the unparalleled access that this exhibition will provide the public,” Lerma said.

The executive also explained the meaning behind the exhibit title “Public Art, Public Lives.”

“This exhibition is a realization of a dream to support the educative work of our museums— a sector that I worked in for over a decade and where in fact I got the inspiration for ‘Private Art, Public Lives,’” Lerma said.

“Building on the trust that we enjoy as well as the collective expertise of Salcedo’s specialists, we felt that it was our duty to begin sharing— indeed, opening up—important collections that have remained in private hands all these years,” he added.

This show was also the first edition of the auction house’s new program “A Passion for Connections: Objects and Their Narratives” presented by Salcedo Private View.

Salcedo Private View is the exhibition arm of the auction house.

Objects of conversation

Quintos curated and arranged the items in four themed sections. They are as follows:

  • Islands, Partners and Colonizers chronicles the birth of the Philippines in the early printed maps of the world.
  • Visualizing the Faith showcases artworks during the Spanish era, including paintings, sculptures in wood and ivory, and furniture with intricate designs.
  • Secret Spirituality is a section filled with pieces that were used for folk spirituality or the “language of resistance.”
  • Building, Defending Nations is a hall where old flags, revolutionary weapons, and other memorabilia are displayed.

Here are photos of some of the objects in each section.

“Public Art, Public Lives” will have invitational viewings on August 31, and September 1 and 2.

It will then be open to the public on September 3 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Earlier designs of flags (Catalina Ricci Madarang/Interaksyon)
Jose Rizal symbols (Catalina Ricci Madarang/Interaksyon)
Collection of religious artworks during the Spanish era (Catalina Ricci Madarang/Interaksyon)
Old printed maps used by sea voyagers (Catalina Ricci Madarang/Interaksyon)