Art foundation and IRRI join efforts to preserve cultural treasures

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the two Manansalas at IRRI headquarters

The two Manansalas at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) Headquarters in Los Baños are up for a proper ‘R and R,’ thanks to a partnership with the Friends of Manansala Foundation, Inc., or FMFI.

Joint efforts between FMFI and IRRI will support the preventive restoration and relocation of the two masterpieces, which have been recognized as Important Cultural Properties of the Philippines by the National Museum.

IRRI commissioned celebrated Filipino artist Vicente Manansala to paint two mural-sized pieces that were installed at the Institute headquarters in Los Baños—one at the cafeteria and another at the dining room—in 1962.

Following the successful production and sale of limited-edition prints featuring the two paintings, the FMFI and IRRI reiterated their joint commitment to preserving these cultural treasures on 23 June. “Rice is culturally intertwined with the lives of Filipinos and Vicente Manansala captured it perfectly in these national treasures,” said IRRI Director General Robert Zeigler, who welcomed the group from the FMFI and received a modest donation on the Institute’s behalf.

Maritess Pineda, president of the FMFI board of trustees, thanked IRRI for preserving the Manansalas. “We are grateful for the support of IRRI in keeping the legacy of Mang Enteng alive.”

Ronna Manansala, granddaughter of Manansala and herself an artist, was also very grateful. “Thanks to IRRI and the Foundation for spreading the Iegacy of my grandfather. The work of preservation requires partnership,” she said. “I’m sure my lolo is smiling down on us now.”

The FMFI is an advocate of upholding and honoring the legacy of the National Artist and had launched the limited-edition prints, fully authenticated and of archival quality, to support proper care for the paintings.

Restorative work on one of the two paintings was last done in November 1984 by a group headed by Crispin Vicencio, who had trained in restoration in Florence, Italy.

In January, IRRI held a special event called Si Manansala at ang Masaganang Ani to commemorate the artists’s 104th birth anniversary, in partnership with FMFI, the National Museum, and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.

Vicente Manansala pioneered the transparent cubism style, in which human figures are presented in geometric shapes. His works reflect the social environment of the post-war era and he was posthumously declared National Artist of the Philippines in 1982.

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In commemoration of Manansala's 104th birthday, artists and art enthusiasts joined the scientific community at the IRRI headquarters on 29 January 2014.

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