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Four Songs from Oz showcases Fil-Australian art from veteran artists

Four Filipino artists showcased their works at the Yuchengco Museum to celebrate the Philippines' ties with Australia.

Alberto Estanislao, Ramon Coloma, Alfredo Roces, and Francisco Rovero of the International Artist's League shared their works in Four Songs from Oz, an exhibit sponsored by the Australian Embassy in Manila.

The exhibit, which opened on July 14, was originally part of the Philippine Embassy in Australia's celebration for the Philippines' 118th Independence Day in July.


It was transferred to the Yuchengco Museum after the Australian Embassy invited the artists to showcase its works to celebrate its 70th year of bilateral relations with the Philippines.

"Songs means a tribute, our way of giving tribute to our home countries. First, Philippines, then Australia, that's why we called it Four Songs—tributes—to Filipino-Australia," Coloma said.

"We're trying to build a bridge that would connect home, which is Australia, and our homeland, which is the Philippines," Rivera added.

While Rivera, Estanislao, and Coloma moved to Australia to make a living off their art, all confessed that they could not yet part with their Filipino roots.

"I'm still looking for my roots in the Philippines. I don't think I can give up my Filipino identity," Estanislao admitted.

Meanwhile, Roces left the Philippines when it became too dangerous to continue his work on "Filipino Heritage: The Making of a Nation" during the dictatorship of former President Ferdinand Marcos.

"My publishers, 'cause they were Australian-based, wanted to continue the project even though (it was) originally tied with the Manila Times, there was no more mass media. I went to Australia to continue the project," Roces narrated.

By the time it was safe to return, his children already considered Australia their home.

"Home. This is my home, but Australia for them has become home. Very slowly, I learned to adapt," said Roces, a painter-essayist who received the Pamana ng Pilipino Award in 2014.

Regardless of their current homebase, the four artists are hopeful that they will remain active in the Philippine art scene to keep their linkages alive. — AT, GMA News

"Four Songs from Oz" runs until July 23 at the Yuchengco Museum, RCBC Plaza, corner Ayala Avenue and Senator Gil J. Puyat Avenue, Makati City.