Arko Ni Apo Gallery, Baguio Philippines

Tompalski’s Private Moments exhibited at the Arko Ni Apo Gallery, Baguio Philippines, 2005.


Sherry Tompalski’s Private Moments Series was exhibited as digital images at the Arko Ni Apo Gallery, Baguio Philippines in February 2005.


Private Moments, series of portraits, examines our desire to connect with others and the unknown connections made by others to us. The permanence of the painted images are like the timeless yearnings we have for others. Private Moments poses the questions “Is there such as thing as a private moment? Are all of our private moments filled with feelings about other people?”


The Arko ni Apo Gallery

The Arko ni Apo art gallery, owned by Benhur Villanueva,  is only a few miles from the heart of Baguio City Philippines. Sculptor, painter and educator, Ben-Hur G. Villanueva, was an art teacher at the country’s prestigious university, Ateneo de Manila University.


His celebrated monumental masterpieces are as follows: Kapit-Bisig – a commemorative Narra wood sculpture of four figures locking arms, which was presented by President Corazon Aquino to the Filipino people on the first year anniversary of the 1986 EDSA Revolution. Among Supremo – a sculpture of Andres Bonifacio at Global City Taguig City,  Thy Will Be Done – A sculpture at the campus of Saint Paul University Quezon City, St. Aloysius Gonzaga – A sculpture at the campus of Saint Louis University in Baguio city, and Risen Christ – A statue at Caleruega, Nasugbu, Batangas.  He has served as president for the Society of Philippine Sculptors (SPS), as Art director for the Ephpheta Foundation for the Blind, Inc., and as vice president-treasurer for Unesco’s International Art Association (IAA).


Roberto Villanueva was Benhur Villanueva’s Brother

Roberto Villanueva was born in 1947 in Olongapo, Zambales, the Philippines. After graduating in 1973 with a Bachelor in Fine Arts from the University of Santo Tomas he taught at the Philippine Women’s University. He began his artistic career as a surrealist, but was gradually drawn into the film medium. In 1983 he became a member of the Board of Directors of the United Filmmakers Organization. He has won several awards in documentary film.

Pictured below is Roberto Villaneuva, The Philippines, performance in association with Ego’s Grave 1993 at the ‘1st Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art’, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, 1993. © Estate of the artist; photograph: Andrea Higgins; image courtesy: Queensland Art Gallery ׀ Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA)


When Roberto Villanueva moved to the northern highlands of Baguio in 1980 he was inspired to create art build from the basic materials of the environment. His art acquired a shamanic aura, the source of its powerful energy drawn from ancient but continuing community symbols, rituals and traditions among the animist ethnic groups.

Pictured below is Robert Villanueva, Ego’s grave 1993; installation and associated performance; carved earth figure in outdoor pit; glazed terracotta; installation view at the ‘1st Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art’, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, September 1993. © Estate of the artist; image courtesy: Queensland Art Gallery ׀ Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA)


He won critical recognition for Archetypes: Cordillera Labyrinth set up on the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) grounds in the summer of 1989. Forty-five metres in diameter and 600 metres in length, the installation consisted of a spiral labyrinth made of bamboo and reeds. Its centre was covered with rocks from a river bed, creating a sacred space peopled with spirit figures from which life power emanates.

Another installation was Atang ti Kararua (Soul Offerings) consisting of three bamboo floats carrying offerings on a lake for the souls of those who perished in the big Baguio earthquake. The artists also conducted a ceremony with a shaman to pacify the spirit of Mount Pinatubo.

Roberto Villanueava tries to restore the communal function of art and the priminitve life force it originally possessed but which still survives in Cordillera mountain culture. He also seeks to recover and understand the animistic strain in the heart of Philippine culture.

In 1990 he was invited to New York as Artist-In-Residence of the New York State Council of the Arts and in 1992 won the CCP Thirteen Artists Award.

A recent work, Bridge Across Cultures, which the artist did in Saitama-ku, Japan, shows his preference for setting up water installations to symbolize migration routes linking different cultures. His work acquires an anthropological aspect, calling to mind the celebrated sea voyage of the Kon-Tiki across the Pacific.

With his use of organic materials and natural locations, together with community interaction, Roberto Villanueva creates an art that is integrated with the life of the people.

A reprinted from The First Asia-Pacific Triennial catalogue; written by Alice Guillermo. After the Triennial, Roberto Villanueva was diagnosed to have leukemia. He continued creating art until his death in February 1995.