Edgardo Lantin’s ‘Hauling Fish’ (above) and Sofronio Ylanan Mendoza’s ‘Tenderness’ (below).

A focus on freedom at Surrey art show

Filipino community pays tribute to culture at Surrey Art Gallery.

Contemporary scenes of human tenderness, Philippine street life and bustling market days are a some of the subjects depicted in the paintings on display at the Surrey Art Gallery beginning next weekend.

The show features the work of a dozen artists belonging to the Dimasalang III International Artist Group, whose art focuses on the concept of kalayaan (freedom). This exhibition also celebrates Philippine Independence Day on June 12 with paintings that celebrate Philippine heritage and culture.

The Dimasalang group was formed in 1968 in Manila. The word Dimasalang originates from Philippine national hero and freedom fighter Dr. Jose Rizal, a revolutionary writer who used Dimasalang as his pseudonym during the turn of the 19th century when the Philippines was under Spanish rule. It was Rizal’s writings and martyrdom that sparked a fervent call for freedom.

The artists’ group name was adopted after the street in Manila where the founding artist Sofronio Ylanan Mendoza, better known by his initials SYM, lived at the time. SYM helped mentor many artists and Dimasalang II consisted mainly of his students in the Philippines. In 1981, SYM moved to Canada with his family where he formed a new set of Canadian Dimasalang artists and continues to teach aspiring and talented artists in Vancouver.

Dimasalang III International Artist Group is a registered not-for-profit society and offers arts-related educational and professional development opportunities to its members and the general public.

The Surrey exhibition runs from May 2 to July 4. The Surrey Art Gallery is located at 13750 88 Ave. Call 604-501-5566 or check www.surrey.ca/artgallery