Arm curls around another as shoulders press close—a family merges into a singular unmoving figure. Smooth acrylic strokes bring a sense of lightness despite the weighted tension in the tight confines of the figures likewise contrasted by the eased expressions on their faces and the man’s lithe hand left ungripped by his wife’s side. There is a sense of deliberate stillness, a presentation of graceful structure likened to the assuredness of amaranthine marble classics— and in doing so, presents a picture of both timeless strength and serenity, a combination that is just as paradoxical as the phenomenon of kinship itself. BenCab moves away from his familiar Larawan realist aesthetic, which he uses to pull out the absurdist truths in his post-colonial and political genres. Here, in lieu of criticism, the artist idealizes, breaking the need for complex discourse through visual reappropriation and the use of more expressionistic means to expose a maxim that is both within and beyond us– the perfection and complexities of family. In its lightness there is an affectional pull that binds, a need not to grasp but to grow and let go, there is both the liberation and indebtedness of sentiment, and there is solidarity and communality in their essence. In this ambrosial scene, BenCab presents the intricacies of the family, and extends and brings into canvas the allusive perfection yearned for by all. Perhaps that is why this piece has a pull in the kin-oriented hearts of Filipinos. Amidst all this, a child lays blanketed, safe to grow and spring more life into the world beyond the space of their embrace. And in a poetic parallelism of art and life, the child indeed grew—still a figure, now blessed with the grace in maturation, seen posing for other works by the artist. Composed of reddened hues coated soothingly across canvas, BenCab’s La Familia exudes warmth that is moving and almost tangible, capturing the impalpable bond of familial love.