Rodel Tapaya is a Filipino painter whose works have gained renown and critical acclaim by winning in several regional art contests and exposure in international exhibitions.
Rodel Tapaya was born in 1980, in Montalban, Rizal, Philippines. He broke out in the art scene by earning the coveted top prize in the Nokia Art Awards competed among artists in the Asia-Pacific region which allowed him to pursue intensive drawing and painting courses at Parsons School of Design in New York and from the University of Helsinki in Finland prior to graduating from the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts. In 2011, he won a landmark achievement for a Filipino artist by winning the Signature Art Prize given by the Asia-Pacific Breweries Foundation and the Singapore Art Museum. He currently lives in Bulacan, Philippines.
Tapaya’s works recurrently depict narratives embedded in Filipino cultural history that offer sharp and often piercing commentary on contemporary life and issues. Through his adept manipulation of folk aesthetic and material, Tapaya provides his mythical characters with allegorical significances that transcend common perception, offering fresh insights about their origins and relevance. The paintings become a tableau of the painter’s articulations and traces of the stories that inspired them. Sometimes his characters appear in archetypes culled from pre-colonial historical research and recorded folktales from recent scholarship.”Rodel Tapaya: Folkgotten,” was the artist’s maiden solo show outside his home country which was organized by the Drawing Room Manila and Utterly Art Singapore in 2008. The exhibit launched Tapaya’s direction in painting based on folk myths and narratives and signified a change of styles from his signature burlap paintings, a material which has gained some popularity and copied by other Filipino painters.
In 2008, At Sotheby’s Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Paintings auction, Tapaya’s The Wedding raked in HKD220,000 while his Donsadat And The Magic Dog sold for HKD90,000. At a similar Christie’s auction, his acrylic-on-canvas piece, The Banquet hit HKD137,500. At a Borobudur Auction, The Giant Watermelon sold for SGD33,600.
Tapaya remains a favorite at Southeast Asian auction houses where his works are highly regarded. He is widely exhibited in cities in the Southeast Asian region as well as in Beijing, Berlin, New York and Tokyo.
Rodel Tapaya’s current works are marked by labyrinthine patterns and recurring characters that transmit scenes and figures from folk stories in his pictorial world. His detailed execution and finish was described by critic Patrick Flores as a “practice (that) pursues the process of myth-making, appropriating certain archetypes in the discourse of origin and expanding it to create a visual vocabulary that is entirely his own. The folk aesthetic in this highly mediated and idiosyncratic language becomes part of a contemporary reflection on a sense of belonging to a domain of culture. The style resists nativist appropriation of motif; rather it invents its own drinking bottles for sale, making the artist’s effort an interesting intertext to prevailing mythologies.” These qualities have led him to receive positive reception from art collectors. He is one of Southeast Asia’s most successful contemporary artist at auctions; the far-reaching appreciation of his works has been part of the wave that gained more attention for Southeast Asian contemporary art in recent years.
Rodel Tapaya received the 2011 Signature Art Prize granted by the Asia-Pacific Breweries Foundation and the Singapore Art Museum. He was also among the Thirteen Artists Awardee of the Cultural Center of the Philippines in 2012. Prior to this, he was shortlisted four times to the Ateneo Art Awards in four separate years and won a jury prize to the Phillip-Morris Philippine Art Awards in 2007. As a student he was a semi-finalist of the Metrobank Young Painters’ Annual Art Competition.Tapaya also scored first place at the Shell National Students Art Competition in the Watercolor Category. In honor of his achievements, the President of the Republic of the Philippines, Benigno Simeon Aquino III, presented him with an Ani ng Dangal Award at the Malacanang Palace. As a twenty-year-old painter he won the Nokia Art Awards competed among young artists in the Southeast Asian region. This gave him the opportunity to study Painting and Drawing at the Parsons School of Design and the University of Art and Design in Helsinki, Finland. Tapaya is one of Southeast Asia’s most active artists with exhibitions held in the region as well as in Berlin, New York, Tokyo and Beijing
·Deutsche Bank Collection
·Art Galley of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
·Singapore Art Museum Collection, Singapore
·Metropolitan Museum of Manila, Manila, Philippines
·Central Bank of The Philippines (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas) Collection
·RCBC Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation Collection, Philippines
·Pinto Art Museum Collection, Philippines
·Tiroche DeLeon Collection
Winner of Asia-Pacific Breweries Foundation and Singapore Art Museum (SAM) Signature Art Prize 2012
In a statement issued by the jury consisted of Indian poet, cultural theorist and curator Ranjit Hoskote; Gregor Muir, executive director of the Institute of Contemporary arts in London; Fumio Nanjo, director of the Mori Museum of Tokyo; Indonesian writer, critic and curator Hendro Wiyanto; and Tan Boon Hui, director of the SAM, Rodel Tapaya’s Baston ni Kabunian, Bilang Pero di Mabilang (Cane of Kabunian, numbered but cannot be counted) was called
“a compelling and monumental-scale work. With its multiple narratives and diverse allegorical references, this stunning mural-sized painting embodies a vibrant strain in contemporary art from the Asia-Pacific region. While Tapaya does not shy away from drawing on the folklore of his native region, his is neither a naïve nor self-exoticising practice. The artist is audacious in his use of the Philippine mural tradition as well as Latin American magic realism and Bosch-like phantasmagoria. Anchored in a postcolonial setting but with far-reaching universal relevance, the work will surely provoke discussion about emerging aesthetic tendencies in Asia-Pacific.”
Winner of the Nokia Art Awards Asia-Pacific,2001
“When I first learned about the competition’s theme “Playground of Your Imagination”, one thing quickly came into my mind, the family
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. It is because of these two reasons: first, I have read Plato’s dialogue “The Republic”, where in the abolition of family was discussed. I didn’t like the idea most specifically when he mentioned of the separation of the mothers from their children. Second, I notice that it seems that the essence of family is gone. Father, mother, and children closely knit, united and full of love and understanding. Instead of those ideals
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, the irony rises today. Misunderstanding between couples offen [sic] lead to marriage break-ups. Most parents have lost quality time for their children and it attributes unfavourable conditions and more. The negative points mentioned about family urged me to do something positive about family. For the parents and the children should together trace life’s long journey united in harmony and love. It is from the experience of togetherness where they find out survival, how to live a just and humane life. My work depicts unity of people, women and men, young and old building the image of the family. It is obvious that the rendition is childlike because it seems to me that the family fills in the lives of people. As defined small shaver, the family is the basic unit of the society; it is where good citizens are molded. The colour implies strength, understanding and love for all.”– Rodel Tapaya’s artist statement for the Nokia Art Awards
THE Giant Watermelon fetched the highest price in the 2008 Borobodur Auction in Singapore and is one of the works by young Filipino artists which set a new benchmark for Filipino art’s popularity abroad. A record number of 50 works were put on the block in the auction, and 86 percent were sold.
Children’s book published by CANVAS and UST Publishing House
“Ang Batang Maraming Bawal” is the winner of The Center for Art, New Ventures and Sustainable Development’s (CANVAS’) second annual Romeo Forbes Children’s Storywriting Competition and Rodel Tapaya was selected by the publisher to illustrate the book before the story was selected. A number of writer’s submitted their stories based on a single painting by Tapaya, of which Fernando Gonzales was chosen. The book launching was accompanied by an exhibit of all Tapaya’s illustrations at Glorietta Artspace.