Ambassador of Chile Roberto Mayorga and Mrs. Paulina Mayorga, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, Good evening.
As we celebrate today the 202nd National Day of Chile, it is indeed fitting that we remember the works and legacy of a Chilean national, one that has left an indelible impression on the Philippines, and has gifted the world with his artistry, the renowned hyperrealist painter, Claudio Bravo.
Claudio Bravo found his way to Manila in 1968. He enjoyed it here enough to stay, for a period of six months and capture, in his paintings, the essence of our society at that period of our history. It is said that Bravo looked back at his work in the Philippines as his “most lucid paintings, because it was a different race –beautiful! ...a different vision of the world and of light.”
Bravo painted the portraits of many Filipinos and in those portraits, in the glamour and spirit of the personalities he depicted, one cannot but sense the optimism, confidence, vitality and sense of pride, but also the innocence, that characterized the Philippines, and the Manila, of the 1960s. Claudio Bravo paints them with such realism you almost have the urge to touch them.
His work here constitutes the last body of portraits he would ever produce, before being catapulted into the international contemporary art scene, for the hyperrealist still-lifes' that would eventually define his career.
I had met Mr. Bravo in January 1968, during his "Sojourn in Manila". No. Not as one of his subjects, but by coincidence, as he was then one of our guests at the 40th wedding anniversary of my parents.
Tonight we are here to witness, perhaps for the very first time, the portfolio of works that Mr. Bravo has masterfully created during this "sojourn" : 29 portraits and 12 drawings which include my Mother, Pacita Moreno Lopez, my sister, Presy Lopez Psinakis, and my sister-in-law, Chita Lopez Taylor and many others, some of whom are among us tonight.
The exhibit Claudio Bravo: "Sojourn in Manila" is a collaboration between the Embassy of Chile and the Energy Development Corporation (EDC). It is in celebration of strengthening ties between Chile and the Philippines.
As co-presenter of this exhibit, let me say that our company, the Energy Development Corporation or EDC, with its focus and expertise in geothermal energy has been undertaking exploration activities in the mountains of Chile for some time now. In the near future, we hope, to likewise contribute to the supply of clean and renewable energy into the homes and industries of Chile.
In the words Ambassador Mayorga used to describe the qualities that the Filipino possess, he said we had "calida humana" or that sense of humanity and warmth of spirt, that the world has lost. In all candor, we were also won over by the culture and the people of Chile, both of which, have many similarities to our own, and equally present in the good Ambassador and his wife, Paulina.
It is my hope that the bonds that has been forged can be further strengthened by our endeavors in Chile. There is much to share, and much to gain between our two countries, culturally , as well as commercially.
In closing, I wish to express my sincere thanks to the hard-working staff members of: The Embassy of Chile, EDC, the Metropolitan Museum, the Lopez Group Foundation, the Lopez Museum and Library, the many sponsors, individual donors, and most of all, to the private collectors, who themselves have been the subjects of Bravo's paintings, without their magnanimity and generosity, this exhibit would not have been possible, we thank you for allowing others the privilege to view the artistry of Claudio Bravo.
Again, good evening to all.