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Sunday, February 01, 2009

E.J. Cabangon @ Kaida Gallery
Kaida Gallery welcomes the Chinese New Year with
Lucky Me
E.J. Cabangon's 7th one-man exhibition
1 - 18 February 2009

Kaida Gallery marks the upcoming Chinese New Year celebrations with Lucky Me, E.J. Cabangon's 7th one-man show of photorealistic oil-on-canvas paintings of Chinese feng-shui figurines.

Exquisitely rendered in fine detail and vivid colors, the paintings in the exhibition depict various figurines used to celebrate the Chinese New Year: figurines of dragons, foo dogs, the three wise men of ancient Chinese folklore, and animal signs of the Chinese lunar calendar. Captured in Cabangon's signature painting technique, where minute details are faithfully reproduced and captured as if on film, the two-dimensional figurines seem to take on a life on their own, animated by the artist's realistic execution of form.

The exhibition derives its title from a local brand of instant noodles popular among the masses. It is also a reference to the strong associations and aspirations for good luck attributed to feng shui. The phrase Lucky Me thus alludes to both the Filipino trait of perseverance and flexibility in hard and desperate times, and the popular adherence to world views or beliefs on how to change one's present status—feng shui being among the most popular forms in the country at present.

The show is a tribute to the power of traditional symbolism and beliefs in giving guidance and meaning for many people. The image of the dragon, for instance, is said to be a bearer of good luck, while the image of the three wise men (Fuk, Luk, and Sau) in Chinese folklore manifestations of longevity, prosperity, and power.

“Life can sometimes be confusing, chaotic, or deranged, so we tend to have faith in something that is visible to our senses even if an individual doesn't fully understand it,” the artist says in a statement.

Cabangon also infuses contemporary Filipino humor into his images of traditional Chinese symbols. The artist entitles his paintings of foo dogs, popularly believed to serve as symbolic guardians on one's property from bad spirits, as Bantay and Ang Jowa ni Bantay, making use of a common Filipino name for male pet dogs and local slang term for spouse or partner. Such intentional renaming of images brings traditional Chinese images closer to popular Filipino culture.

Lucky Me opens on February 1 (Sunday), 6 p.m., at Kaida Gallery, located at the 2nd Floor, GFO Building, 122 Kamuning Road, Quezon City, Philippines 1102. The show runs until the 18th of February 2009. For inquiries, please call (632) 4144777 or write

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