Mukhang Tsinoy: Portraits by Fernando Amorsolo at Yuchengco Museum

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byCassie Cheng

The Yuchengco Museum joins His Art, Our Heart, the Amorsolo Retrospective, with an exhibit of Filipino-Chinese portraits by the country’s first National Artist. Entitled Mukhang Tsinoy: Portraits by Fernando Amorsolo, the exhibit is on view until January 17, 2009.

Fernando Amorsolo emerged as the master painter during the Commonwealth period in the 1930s. Besides painting a wide array of subject matter, Amorsolo was also a sought-after portraitist. He was the artist of choice among rich and influential businessmen and their families, as well as high-ranking government officials. The Tsinoys—the Chinese-blooded who have established deep roots in Filipino soil, and strong bonds with the Filipino people—were also among Amorsolo’s portrait subjects. Amorsolo captured a glimpse of their historically evolving identity—at that time already relaxed, fully integrated, and secure in their position in society.

Portraits of Enrique and Maria Yuchengco from the museum collection and the museum’s thematic thrust to highlight the culture and stories of Chinese Filipinos inspired the exhibit. Many of the featured portraits, long kept in private homes and treasured as family heirlooms, are on public display for the very first time.

A special wing of Chinese ancestral images at the museum’s Bridgeway Foyer illustrates the earlier days of Tsinoy portraiture, and looks into portraiture as part of a culture that worshipped its ancestors. Also coupled with the Amorsolo exhibit is Mukhang Tsinoy, Artistang Pinoy, a showcase of portraits of Sino-Filipino personalities by artists other than Amorsolo. Among the artists featured in the exhibit are National Artists Ang Kiukok, Bencab, Vicente Manansala, and Guillermo Tolentino, acclaimed painters Federico Aguilar Alcuaz, Romulo Galicano, Anita Magsaysay-Ho, and Ephraim Samson, and Tsinoy sculptor Ting Ping Lay. The complementary show is on view at the Bridgeway Gallery, also until January 17, 2009.

The Yuchengco Museum is located at RCBC Plaza, corner Ayala and Sen. Gil J. Puyat Avenues in Makati. Museum hours are Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call 889.1234 or visit


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