Eduardo Castrillo @ 50: Moving the Legacy Forward

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byCassie Cheng

Special exhibition of the late sculptor’s groundbreaking work—from sculptures to jewelry to public monuments—illustrates his legacy of innovation, scale, and creativity on his 50th year as an artist

Manila, Philippines: Eduardo Castrillo (1942–2016)—the awarded nationalist sculptor, jewelry designer, monument maker, and pioneering radical in the visual arts who passed away in May this year—would have marked his golden anniversary as an artist.

As part of a yearlong celebration and tribute to Castrillo and his art, Yuchengco Museum—in partnership with Samsung Electronics Philippines Corporation through the Samsung Culture Connect program and with the Castrillo Legacy Art Studio—presents Eduardo Castrillo @ 50: Moving the Legacy Forward. The special exhibition illustrates the master sculptor’s legacy of innovation, scale, and creativity through rare sculptural pieces and art jewelry. 360-degree virtual reality experiences of Castrillo’s historical monuments, winning entries from the recent Castrillo @ 50 Instagram contest, and the first group exhibition of the Castrillo Legacy Art Studio reintroduce the monument maker to younger audiences. Eduardo Castrillo @ 50: Moving the Legacy Forward is on view from October 13 to November 24, 2016.

Legacy of innovation

When Castrillo broke into the contemporary art scene in his first solo exhibition in 1966, his sculptures reflected the potency of his artistic and creative genius to innovate and pioneer. At a time when Filipino sculptors were using readily available materials, Castrillo explored new mediums, such as plastics, plexiglass, and less pliable materials. Throughout his artistic life, he constantly experimented with form, material, techniques, and processes. “I love the challenge of taming metal, to control the tough solidity of the medium and mold it into something lifelike,” he once said. Rare Castrillo works on exhibit include his 1974 chrome and plexiglass series, functional sculptural pieces, and art pieces highlighting color in the last years of his life.

Legacy of scale

Castrillo explored scale: he began his career from fashioning intricate pieces of art jewelry by hand. Castrillo first realized his artistic potential as a jeweler at La Estrella del Norte, where he designed jewelry and created window displays for the esteemed jeweler. Among the mediums and styles displayed in his first one-man show in 1966 was a sampling of his jewelry, but it was in the 1970s when he presented his collection in Manila and abroad.

Wanting to bring nationalism and awareness back to Filipinos, however, Castrillo dotted the country with imposing monuments telling the story of the courage, heroism, and aspirations of the Filipino race. “There is a nagging participation that I have to do as an artist and citizen for our country. And it is that I want to help raise the moral and nationalistic interest of our people. I do these through environmental works that signify the heroes’ sagas and colorful history of our nation. I deliberately want to make this a cultural heritage for our country,” said the late sculptor and monument maker.

National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin’s words reflect the motivation behind Castrillo’s lifelong artistic pursuit: “Castrillo wants to get away from the static style of monuments, and to create those that are moving, sweeping, dynamic, full of the fury of the saga it celebrates… He wants no itty-bitty example of our heritage of smallness but, rather, the colossal, the stupendous, the overwhelming, a portrait of the Filipino as grandiose.”

Visitors can explore and experience the sheer size of Castrillo’s monuments through virtual reality and 360-degree panoramic photographs by Fung Yu. Yu is a 360 panoramic photographer who documents local tourist spots, heritage sites, and cultural attractions in 360 immersive technology.

Introducing the Castrillo Legacy Art Studio

Castrillo’s studio was a beehive of creative activity. Alongside all his commission work, Castrillo mentored his children, nephews, and assistants. Trained in the processes and techniques of the master sculptor, the next generation highlights their individual works, express the maestro’s influence, and carry the Castrillo legacy forward in their first group exhibition. Among those who will showcase their artwork are children Nixxio and Ovvian, and nephews Jonnel and Zandro.

Instagram contest winners on exhibit

Another highlight of Eduardo Castrillo @ 50: Moving the Legacy Forward is an exhibition of the finalists and winners of the recent Culture Connect: Castrillo @ 50 Instagram contest. From August to September 2016, Instagrammers snapped photos of Castrillo public art monuments and shared what these works mean to them. “Aside from encouraging Filipinos to appreciate art, the contest provides an avenue for our countrymen to celebrate Philippine history and culture with the technology we have today,” says Arlita Tayko-Narag, Head of Corporate Citizenship, Samsung Electronics Philippines Corporation.

Eduardo Castrillo at the Books & Gifts Corner

Yuchengco Museum’s Books & Gifts Corner is home to publications, stationery, and gifts highlighting Castrillo, his iconic works, and his remarkable career. A limited number of copies of Alfredo Roces’ Breaking Out: an Eduardo Castrillo Sculptural Tour is available starting at P1,800. Notecards featuring the sculptor’s abstract pieces are P500 a set, while children can learn more about the monument maker’s work and the stories behind our heroes in the Color Our Heroes: Monuments by Eduardo Castrillo coloring book for P95 each.

Smartphone photography workshop on October 22

To complement the Eduardo Castrillo @ 50 exhibition, 360 panoramic photographer Fung Yu will lead a workshop on smartphone photography on October 22, Saturday, at the museum from 9:00 to 11:30 a.m. Participants will learn how to get the best images from their phones, while also delving into the creative side of smartphone photography and going on a photo shoot around the museum. Slots are limited. For workshop details, email [email protected].

Eduardo Castrillo @ 50: Moving the Legacy Forward is presented by Yuchengco Museum in partnership with Samsung Electronics Philippines Corporation through the Samsung Culture Connect program and with the Castrillo Legacy Art Studio. The exhibit will be on view from October 13 to November 24, 2016.

Yuchengco Museum is located at RCBC Plaza, corner Ayala and Senator Gil J. Puyat Avenues, Makati City. Museum hours are Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call (632) 889-1234, visit, or follow @YuchengcoMuseum on social media with the hashtags #SamsungCultureConnect and #Castrillo50.


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