Private Art, Public Lives: Salcedo Redefines Legacy with Launch of Exhibition Series

Salcedo Auctions, through its gallery and exhibition arm Salcedo Private View,  debuts a new program that takes  you inside the private art collection of one of the region’s top bankers Edwin Riego Bautista, and his wife, Professor Aileen Beltrano Bautista. 

Private Art, Public Lives: Salcedo Redefines Legacy with Launch of Exhibition Series

Salcedo Auctions’ chairman and chief specialist Richie Lerma just added something exciting to the auction house’s program, a series of exhibitions featuring collections in private hands titled Private Art, Public Lives. It debuts with a selection from the extensive collections of UnionBank president and chief executive officer Edwin Riego Bautista and his wife, the academician Aileen Beltrano Bautista, who have assembled through the decades a tantalizing range of objects of antiquity, most of which have not been shown in public. 

Curator Floy Quintos titled the exhibition A Passion for Connections and Their Narratives, and sectioned the objects thematically.  Islands, Partners and Colonizers “examines trade partnerships  with various Southeast Asian polities, as well as the gradual identification of our island kingdoms as one colony of Spain,” Quintos states in the exhibition notes. Visualizing the Faith includes santos in wood, ivory and silver, with a sub-section titled A Faith Proclaimed Through Splendor to showcase colonial jewelry and adornment from Aileen Beltrano Bautista’s own collection. A Secret Spirituality is devoted to “anting-antings  as a language of resistance.” Its sub-section, Re-Imagining the Divine features mamarrachos, or folk santos – unique in their unorthodox portrayals of holy personages – carved by local artisans. 

The last section, Building, Defending Nations, is a poignant visioning of our journey to nationhood, narrated through battle-captured Philippine flags as well as indigenous and Katipunan-related armament.

Private Art, Public Lives: Salcedo Redefines Legacy with Launch of Exhibition Series

“We are delighted to announce the new program as well as its inaugural edition,” Lerma states. “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.’ 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. To me, Edwin and Aileen epitomize the ethos of Salcedo – that a well-appointed life means having a life that gives back to society. The  transformative work of the couple in their professional careers have 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 adds “With insights from curator Floy Quintos, the show also invites a deeper understanding, and a more critical assessment of depictions of our history. For example, it is a common notion that we got the intricate craft of filigree from the Spanish, but in reality our artisans were already practitioners of this fascinatingly fastidious form of embellishment before they arrived, as you can see from some of the excavated gold jewelry. These are insights that Filpinos can truly be proud of, achievements outside of the ‘international recognition’ tropes that have been sadly misused and distorted  by the Barnum and Bailey characters in our midst, and this is just the beginning of a series of truly substantive exhibitions – hallmarks of what we continue to present at Salcedo.”

Private Art, Public Lives : A Passion for Connections and Their Narratives from the Collections of Edwin and Aileen Bautista will have a four-day run:  invitational viewings on 31 August and 1-2 September,  and open to the public, on 3 September,  9AM-6PM at Salcedo Auctions, NEX Tower, 6786 Ayala Avenue, Makati City. Follow @salcedoauctions on Facebook and Instagram for updates.

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