Art and technology  joyfully unite at the White Room Gallery

Finding an art gallery in a training center ran by an educational technology and innovation organization may be unexpected and unlikely. But such is really the case with The White Room Gallery.

It enjoys the patronage of INNOTECH, which aims to empower the Southeast Asian community through education and learning including art. Thus, it’s found within the organization’s research and training facilities called SEAMEO INNOTECH in the Diliman district of Quezon City.

“Technology and science cannot be separated from the humanities,” said SEAMEO INNOTECH director Dr. Leonor Magtolis-Briones. She gave the welcome message at the opening on 12 October of the yearend exhibition titled “Don We Now Our Gay Apparel.”

“The White Room Gallery of SEAMEO INNOTECH celebrates this joyful unity… We are proud to have provided a space for artists, accomplished and amateur ones, to showcase their artistic innovations and inspire community engagement.”

Twenty-two of the leading artists in the country were invited to the group exhibition, according to the gallery’s artistic curator, Professor Rubén DF Defeo of the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts. He pointed out, “They are what Philippine art is all about. Their paintings and artworks benefit our youth in the service of the nation.”

Leading the venerable list of participating artists are two former deans of the UP College of Fine Arts, namely Virginia Dandan and Nestor Olarte Vinluan. They are joined by Benjie Cabangis, a professor emeritus at the same college; Fernando Sena, widely known for his art workshops; Fil dela Cruz, a National Artist nominee; Raul Hembra Lebajo, famous for environmental surrealism artistic style; and Ramon Orlina, a renowned sculptor.

Then there are similarly celebrated and regarded artists, such as Lito Carating, Pablo Biglang-Awa Jr., Jeff T. Dizon, Mario Parial, Anton Quisumbing, Nina Libatique, Manuel Rodriguez, Jonahmar Salvosa, Phyllis Zaballero, Popo San Pascual, Junyee, Raul Isidro, Pete Jimenez, Reb Belleza and Nina Ricci Alagao. Belleza is also a former actor, while Alagao won Binibining Pilipinas-Universe in 2000.

Rounding up the list of participants is the group called the INNOTECH 13+1 artists: Ramon Arsenio Acevedo, Hoche Magtolis Briones, Ryan Alison Cua, Denes Dasco, Joy Dasco, Jes Evangelista, Karen Fabie-Concepcion, Reymar Gacutan, Carmela Geisert, Jay Lozada, Nesty Angeles Ortiz, Byron Valenzuela, Michael Velasco and Jefferson Villacruz.

“Art makes life worth living; it’s edifying,” Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara said in his short speech as the event’s guest of honor. “You cannot put a price on it or value, although we try, some giving more value to another. It’s difficult.

“But definitely, we all agree that it makes life better and makes life worthwhile. So, thank you to all the artists who pour out their souls and make life enjoyable through their art.”

The White Room Gallery’s last exhibition in 2023 runs until 31 December, hence the title, “Don We Now Our Gay Apparel” referring to the popular Christmas carol, “Deck the Halls.” It is open to public viewing every Tuesday until Friday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.