“AT NIGHT THE CANDLE’S BRIGHTER THAN THE SUN”
ADESTE DEGUILMO’S SHADES OF NIGHT
THE SUN IS GONE. But it leaves behind traces of its once dominant presence in the slivers of orange, pink and yellow that streak the darkening skyline and find reflection in the waters of “Mandaue” and “Mactan” that are now turning to deeper blues and greens. The ships moored in the harbor have switched on lights whose glimmer is caught by the waters. From a distance can be viewed buildings and houses that have also turned on electricity to fend off the coming darkness. Already the mountains far away have begun to blur. (“Night Lights On”) Night descends.
With 12 new art works, Adeste Deguilmo returns to realism to unfold panoramic yet detailed views of city harbors and meticulously portray the rituals and struggles for survival of ordinary people under varying shades of the night.
Within the brightly lit cathedral grounds, vine-covered columns stand guard over “New Believers” now casually attired: a couple whose ordinary clothes are in contrast to their baby’s pretty dress; two youngsters, one in shorts but in a prayerful stance, and the other in stretch pants and ballerina shoes.
Out in the streets, other rituals take place: a cotton candy vendor tends to his makeshift stall under an unseen street lamp that bathes his space with golden light (“Night Shift”); under the glare of only one bulb, a woman on a side street patiently grills barbecue for waiting customers including one busy with his cellphone (“The Ritual”); in a more brightly lit street corner are two men in stationary motorcycles hoping to catch passengers for habal-habal rides (“Night Riders”).
In his remaining 5 works, Deguilmo depicts the struggle of fishers to draw out from the sea their sustenance. As light dims to give way to night, they face the problem of a banca with a “Detached Outrigger.” Armed with only one petromax, they wait as darkness envelops them. (“The Waiting”) They must have borrowed another banca from a neighbor, for soon, they fuel another petromax with kerosene and the glow it emits gives them confidence for their night endeavor. (“Getting Ready”) They cast fish traps and use the intensity of the light radiating from several petromax to lure the fishes. (“Seekers”). And finally, they succeed in their “Night Fishing”.
Adeste Deguilmo’s exhibit ultimately shows the power of his realism in capturing not only the nuances of the shades of night, but more importantly, the people who struggle to overcome darkness.
By Teresita Gimenez Maceda