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Vibal Honors Mother of Philippine Modern Art with Book

May 19th, 2017

The lost era of the most influential woman in the contemporary Philippine art scene is finally accessible to artists and writers. Vibal Foundation, in partnership with Kalaw-Ledesma Foundation and BDO Private Bank, honors Purita Kalaw-Ledesma with the launch of The Life and Times of Purita Kalaw-Ledesma.

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Only a handful of women can boast of being as seminal in the Philippine art scene as the late great Purita Kalaw-Ledesma. Born on February 2, 1914, Kalaw-Ledesma was an art patron, writer, founder and first president of the Arts Association of the Philippines, and arguably the mother of Philippine modern art. After World War II, she kept the most extensive chronicle of the struggling Philippine art scene; her own archive consists of 83 volumes of magazine clippings, art exhibition invitations, posters, and correspondences with artists spanning half a century.

Penned by National Gallery Singapore curator Lisa Chikiamco, University of the Philippines Department of Art Studies’ Eileen Legaspi-Ramirez, and Jorge B. Vargas Museum Director Patrick D. Flores, The Life and Times of Purita Kalaw-Ledesma uses Kalaw-Ledesma’s documents as references in painting a picture of the developing artistic community postwar and highlights Kalaw-Ledesma’s contributions to the thriving art scene. Chikiamco took on the years 1948 to 1969; Ramirez studied the 1970s; and Flores parallelled Kalaw-Ledesma’s masteral thesis on art education with insights from artist Fernando Zóbel and poet-journalist Francisco Arcellana. The book was edited by art historian Purissima Benitez-Johannot.

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(From left) Authors Eileen Legaspi-Ramirez and Clarissa Chikiamco, editor Purissima “Petty” Benitez-Johannot, and author Patrick Flores posed by artist Jaime de Guzman’s portrait of Purita Kalaw-Ledesma at the art exhibit “Piecing Together: Selections and Stories from the Purita Kalaw-Ledesma Collection.” The exhibit was part of the book launch of Vibal Foundation’s The Life and Times of Purita Kalaw-Ledesma.

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Vibal Group CEO and Vibal Foundation Executive Director Gaspar Vibal talked about “Tita Purita” in relation to the current Philippine art scene during the book launch of The Life and Times of Purita Kalaw-Ledesma.

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(From left) Eileen Legaspi-Ramirez, author; Clarissa Chikiamco, author; Tessie Ojeda Luz, wife of National Artist Arturo Luz; Ada Ledesma-Mabilangan, President of the Kalaw Ledesma Foundation; Gaspar Vibal, CEO of Vibal Group and Executive Director of Vibal Foundation; Carlos Madrid, Director of Instituto Cervantes Manila; Patricia Licuanan, Chairperson of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED); former Senate President Edgardo Angara; and Purissima “Petty” Benitez-Johannot, editor, posed for a commemorative photo during the book launch of The Life and Times of Purita Kalaw-Ledesma on May 17, 2017 at KL Tower, Makati City.

The Life and Times of Purita Kalaw-Ledesma was launched at KL Tower, 117 Gamboa St., Legaspi Village, Makati City on May 17, 2017. The book will be available in major bookstores and at shop.vibalgroup.com. For more information, please call 580-7400 or 1-800-1000-VIBAL (84225) or e-mail marketing@vibalgroup.com.