ARTS AND CULTURE: A Day at the Ayala Museum: The World We Live In

2:00 AM

I wanted to be Steve McCurry. At some early point in this humdrum life of mine, I wanted to travel to places so far from where I was born and document what I would see. I wanted to capture the soul of a place and to give voice to the ones in the middle of conflicts.  

So when I heard that some photos taken by the award-winning Steve McCurry was being shown at the Ayala Museum, I knew I had to go. One Tuesday afternoon – because I completely forgot that museums are closed on Mondays, my friend Chinggay and I made the trek to Makati to see “The World We Live In: Through the Lens of Contemporary Photography” before it ended on March 27.   

In Partnership with Ayala Museum, Sundaram Tagore Gallery and Collective 88 presented this fantastically curated exhibit of images that try to narrate the current state of things in the world. The works of Steve McCurry was being shown alongside other iconic photographs by Sebastião Salgado, Robert Polidori, Edward Burtynsky and Annie Leibovitz. All five photographers are currently represented in Asia by Sundaram Tagore Gallery.

Glad to say that Steve McCurry didn’t disappoint. The works chosen for this show were great, especially his documentation of the Philippine Islands. The works of Sebastião Salgado, from his “Workers” and “Genesis”, were gripping and became instant favorites.  But surprisingly enough – at the risk of sounding cliché – the most arresting image for me was the one by Annie Leibovitz. I was quite sure that I would gloss over her part of the show, having seen them on Vogue and Vanity Fair. But that image of Angelina Jolie in a bathtub was a jolt and made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.

Perhaps it was the subject or the photographer or maybe both, whatever the reason behind such a powerful photo, it really felt as though she was staring at me. It seemed that those peepers of hers were boring into me, so much so that I had to tell Chinggay, “feeling ko, na one-degree of separation ako dito.”

Just like anyone, my life is bombarded with print and digital images. In fact, thanks to social media, there are photos I rather wouldn’t have seen. But these pictures were a good reminder that the cameras we have – may it be an actual camera or the ones in our smartphones – are great tools. And it seems that they are most effective when the lens aren’t directed towards ourselves.

“The World We Live In: Through the Lens of Contemporary Photography”  features some of the works of five iconic photographers of our time.  

Great shows at the Ayala Museum this month.
Aside from "The World We Live In." Chinggay and I saw the one on Ang Kuikok. 

Across the front door of the museum is Plet Bolipata's Miss PegaZorse.

Life is beautiful. indeed!
Inside the elevator is this guide to the entire building.
Robert Polidori, AMI.04.001, Attique du Midi, Aile du Midi - Attique, Chateau de Versailles, France, 2005|
Image grabbed from Ayala Museum Website
Edward Burtynsky, Colorado River Delta #2, 2011
Image grabbed from Ayala Museum Website
Steve McCurry, Stilt fishermen, Weligama, South coast, Sri Lanka, 1995
Image grabbed from Ayala Museum Website 

Sebastião Salgado, Iceberg Betweem Paulet Islands and the Shetland Islands, Antarctica, 2005
Image grabbed from Ayala Museum Website
Annie Leibovitz, Angelina Jolie, Vanity Fair March 2006
Image grabbed from Vanity Fair Website

The Diorama Experience is the lone section of the Museum where one can take photos. 
Even if I am hardly the perfect specimen, it's safe to conclude that we have somehow gotten a wee bit taller.
Our highlanders building the famous rice terraces
Evidently, I wouldn't have stood a chance against the Spanish Conquistadors
Ferdinand Magellan perishes in the hands of  Lapu-Lapu. 

The British Invasion.
"An army from British India invaded Manila in 1762, and took control of the port-city until 1764. Although the rest of the Philippines remained under Spanish rule, the loss of a key port drastically diminished colonial resources." 

Andres Bonifacio right in the center during the Sigaw ng Pugad Lawin.
The Japanese Imperial Army invading Manila.
The American Soldier, our liberator in WWII. 

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