When the Urban Roamer got the opportunity to visit the Philamlife Building at Ermita during its (sob) final days, one of the things I was fixated upon was the artworks whose artist was a mystery to me at that time. Thanks to a reader, I found out that those artworks were actually done by Vicente Manansala himself, National Artist for Visual Arts alongside with colleagues like Fernando Amorsolo and Botong Francisco.
The paintings are a a series of 7 commissioned works completed by Manansala in 1961, the same year the Philamlife Building was completed, done in the cubist style Manansala was known for.
While the issue about the fate of the Philamlife Auditorium was in full rage for several months last year, curiously there was not much news about what was to happen to those paintings considering these were done by a National Artist.
That question was answered with a satisfying resolution today as the National Museum of the Philippines announced over its Facebook page that these 7 paintings can now be seen in one of the halls of the 3rd floor of the museum’s National Art Gallery named aptly, “Philam Life Hall.”
With these paintings now under the care of the National Museum, we can be assured that these artworks will given the due care they deserve, not to mention a greater appreciation among the people.
For those who would like these Manansala paintings for the first time, or if you feel like reminiscing seeing these works at the old Philamlife Building lobby, do check them out at their new home at the National Museum, which has been upping their ante in recent years in improving the facilities and expanding their collection.
We can only hope as well that just as these paintings, the fate of the Philamlife Auditorium will be in good hands, as the “good guys” of SMDC promised.