Iconic Negrenese social realist painter Nunelucio Alvarado (1950) is regarded as one of the most prominent contemporary artists in the Philippines. He has won numerous international critical acclaim for his powerful works that mostly portrayed the life and struggles of Negros Occidental’s the working class.
Alvarado’s art is a panorama of Philippine life that ranges from the decorative aspects of Negros life such as the colorful fruits and vegetables found in the market; or the simple family life that utilizes the bright prints and patterns under the Visayan sun; and on the darker side, the evils of environmental, social and cultural degradation of which he is known for as a social realist.
Recognized for his unique and distinct style of bright-eyed squat and squared figures that employ strong vivid colors and dark lines, Alvarado frequently applies powerful psycho-sexual symbols with a touch of the surreal as he depicts the plight of sugarcane workers, fishermen and traders found in his native Negros Occidental.
While the artist portrays the pain of the working class, he also does not miss the strong family bond that exists amidst the struggles and sacrifices of daily life. Along these lines, the artist has worked on numerous Mother and Child canvasses such as “Mag-Iloy”, 2011, a 60cm X 45.5cm oil on canvas. Here we find a son locked in the embrace of his winged mother, either alluding to the son’s desperate cling to the spirit of a dead mother or the mother is portrayed as angelic in her selfless love. The work is a warm picture of comfort and protection in typical Alvarado style.
In 1992 he was among the Thirteen Artist awardees of the Cultural Center of the Philippines and twice a recipient of the Philippine Art Awards (Philip Morris Art Awards). In 2004 he was honored with the Patnubay ng Sining at Kalinangan sa Larangan ng Pintura Award by the CCP.
Alvarado has had over 50 solo exhibitions and participated in numerous group exhibitions both here and abroad including the prestigious Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo, the Queensland Art Gallery and the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, USA. His works are also part of the collection of the Singapore Art Museum.
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