Brando Bati & Adler Llagas reinterpret ‘Madonnas’ and ‘Nature’

One artist tries to capture “vast sceneries that may soon be disappearing.”

The other sees Mother-and-Child paintings as emblematic of hope. 

Brando Limon Bati and Adler Llagas — two seasoned artists discovered by gallerist, author and publisher Manny Duldulao —  explore the themes of “Madonna” and “Nature” in their two-man show, which is on view until Aug. 31 at Robinsons Land ARTablado, Upper Ground Floor, North Wing of Robinsons Place Antipolo. 

Ang Nanay laging may bagong pag-asa, bagong pangarap sa Anak,” explains Bati, a Tanay-based Impressionist-Figurative artist. He relates the theme to an area in Manila known for its flower shops: Dangwa. But Bati focuses his attention on the flower sellers, which are mostly women, rendering them in archetypal motherly fashion—surrounded by sunflowers and other blooms (all meticulously and skillfully detailed) as bearers of ethereal beauty.

Llagas, on the other hand, maintains his fascination with the rustic beauty of the fields, mountains and rivers of his childhood, recapturing the landscape either as the sun rises above the horizon or as it begins to set at dusk, mastering how time and light interact on canvas.  

Sa aking pagka-bata ay laman na ako ng palayan (ricefield) na nagging laruan (playground) ko,” says the Impressionist-Realist artist who also worked as a farmer. Brushstrokes are shown prominently in his paintings to convey the immediacy of the image: the past recalled with fresh, vivid colors.

They talk about their mentor: Manny Duldulao.

Llagas shares how Duldulao taught him how to improve his landscape approach. “Naging supportive siya sa aking pagpipinta, maging sa financial (aspect).”

Sobrang diretso siya mag-advise sa artists, pero matututo ka kung susunod ka,” quips Bati. “Nabigyan niya ako ng pagkakataon na mailagay sa Twentieth Century Filipino Artists Vol. 3 (Legacy Publishers) book niya.”

The two artists met in 1992 and became fast friends, with Bati becoming Llagas’ mentor in watercolor. Both men have gone through a lot in terms of personal life and career, and have joined forces once again in putting their respective oeuvres under a much-deserved spotlight. 

Ang ARTablado ay may pagmamahal sa art at sa mga artists,” explains Llagas. “Marami pang natutulungan ang ARTablado — maging kilala man o baguhan na artist.”

Bati agrees. “Maging sikat ka man o isang beginner, bibigyan ka ng (puwang) ng ARTablado.”

With their fresh takes on “Madonnas” and “Nature,” both artists explore these timeless themes and express their love of nostalgia as well as their desire to be one with nature. Their belief is: Nature can “also considered a Mother as it nourishes every creature, great or small.”

ARTablado, a portmanteau of “art” and “entablado” is Robinsons Land’s very own stage in showcasing Filipino ingenuity and creativity. This platform allows emerging artists to freely express themselves through art and paves the way to greater recognition of their talent and hard work. 

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