While literature has mostly escaped this enigmatic figure, there is no room for argument that Cenon Rivera made his mark and influence in the development of modern Philippine visual arts and design during his long career. Rivera alongside his contemporaries such as H.R. Ocampo and Botong Francisco pioneered different ways to juxtapose new approaches and philosophies of art with the zeitgeist of Filipino culture as exemplified in this oil on wood. Rivera reframes the classic ‘tinikling,’ transforming the scene into gridded bodies, bold white lines imbuing the native dance with an Art Nouveau aesthetic. At the same time, the luminescent lines follow the natural and easy curvature that the Filipino baroque style has achieved. In so doing, the artist creates a seamless composition. Beyond the aesthetic charm of this piece is the conversation it engenders. Rivera, together with his contemporaries, saw no conflict between tradition and modernity, seeing them as complementary forces to drive the country’s visual arts to new heights.
Exhibition: Exhibited in CCP