Icons & Superheroes

Solo Show of

Juanito Torres



What is a hero? History is replete with stories of valor and courage, with a hero defending the honor of his family, village, nation. A country often builds its identity on the backs of the narratives it constructs around their heroes. But true history is anything but clear-cut, and Philippine history in particular is frequently painted in shades of grey. The recent attention to films such as Heneral Luna posits that, more often than not, we are our own worst enemy.

Artist Juanito Torres (b. 1977) has built his practice around the “mythologizing” aspects of Philippine nation-building. His paintings parse out the truths from the constructed “histories” we are taught in school and lace them with a scathing awareness of how the efforts of historians, screenwriters, politicians, and the masses have appropriated, re-appropriated, and recycled Philippine heroes for whatever purposes they may serve. In this manner, his practice serves to stimulate the recent interest in history. Indeed, Torres’ practice is a vital component in fleshing out what it truly means to be Filipino.

Haunting, surreal, and technically astute, the new works that will be exhibited in his upcoming show, “Icons and Superheroes,” are an invaluable visual entry point into Philippine history, culture, and society.