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Masalunga and Afable Present San ‘To Art Exhibition at Toronto Philippine Consulate

By Michelle Chermaine Ramos
September 30, 2014


Two award winning Filipino artists of the Philippine Artists Group of Canada opened their two-man art exhibition at the Philippine Consulate in Toronto on Thursday August 28th 2014. Omel Masalunga and Antonio “Jun” Afable, both dressed in matching colorful attire for the reception representing their interpretation of “the modern Lapu Lapu,” or how they imagined legendary Filipino chieftain and national hero Lapu Lapu would have dressed if he had been alive today.  Consul General Junever Mahilum West and Philippine Artists Group founder, Maestro Romi MananQuil, formally opened the reception with a ribbon cutting ceremony.  

The artists put a mysterious interactive twist on the concept of an art opening by literally having guests unwrap the paintings covered in paper on the wall. The exhibition title, San ‘To, is a contraction of the words “Saan ito?” meaning, “Where is this?” in English. The question was directed at the crowd to guess the locations of the Toronto street corners in their paintings. As guests were taken around the exhibit to unwrap the paintings one by one amidst excited cries of “San ‘to?”, people chimed in their guesses of the locations of the street intersections depicted in each picture.  After much laughter and cheering, the correct answers were unveiled in title labels previously covered up before each revelation. For the musical highlight of the celebration, the ever-charming opera diva Lilac Cana graced the event with a stunning performance from her repertoire.         

Both world travellers, the artists plan to host another series of San ‘To exhibitions in other cities including New York and Rome in the near future.  Besides being a painter and sculptor, Omel Masalunga is also a very talented singer with an operatic voice as well as a pianist and teacher who has starred in stage plays and recently began his musical debut at his solo concert in Coaticook as a songwriter. Antonio “Jun” Afable has worked in fashion, industrial and graphic design and is the Philippine Artists Group of Canada’s current Vice President. He has made his mark as a force to be reckoned with in plein air painting competitions, having won 1st and 3rd prize in the 2012 Summer/Fall OPAS (Ontario Plein Air Society) Plein Air Competition as well as the OPAS Artists Choice Award as an outstanding artist admired by both the public and his peers. 

The exhibition is sponsored by the Philippine Consulate and will run for two months to be followed by an exhibition of the works of PAG president Nelia Tonido. 

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