Salcedo Stories

Unpacking Our ‘Personal Baggage’: Ricky Ambagan Presents ‘I’m Coming Home’

Unpacking Our ‘Personal Baggage’: Ricky Ambagan Presents ‘I’m Coming Home’

  • 1 November 2020

Ricky Ambagan is a storyteller at heart. His goal— to encourage dialogue amongst his viewers, guided by his fantastic visual narratives.

SAStories-2020-1101-Unpacking Our Personal Baggage-01

RICKY AMBAGAN, Life is Good, 2020, Oil on canvas.

From the overall concept of the exhibition down to the actual execution of his works— identifiably Ambagan’s for their astonishingly embellished, luggage-shaped frames – the artist’s voice is interwoven into every aspect of the nine canvas paintings featured in ‘I’m Coming Home,’ his first solo exhibition at Salcedo Private View. In a sense, he creates his own vocabulary through art, using distinct, recurring motifs to clearly convey the overarching themes of longing, remembering, leaving, and homecoming.

RICKY AMBAGAN, Reconnect, 2020 Oil on canvas.

The level of detail in each piece is purely intentional. Nothing is randomly added or strewn about in his paintings. It’s this dedication to executing his vision that makes viewers feel as if they’re looking at snapshots taken from a familiar dream. It may even seem as if Ambagan has handpicked scenes from our past memories and experiences to present them once again in new yet strangely personal images.

This is how Ambagan’s art elicits powerful emotions, memories, and even conversations from viewers. By building the exhibition around the question, “What if I made luggage that contained emotions and senses instead of physical belongings?,” he effectively throws another question back to his audience: “Who or what do you come home to?”

RICKY AMBAGAN, Sky’s the Limit, 2020 Oil on canvas.

Who is Ricky Ambagan?

Ambagan has participated and won in several art competitions since 1998. He took home the Grand Prize at the GSIS Painting Competition in 2011, The Juror’s Choice Award for LRT ART 2009, and was the Philippine Art Awards Luzon Regional Winner in both 2011 and 2012.

In 2019, he was named one of Tatler Philippines’ ‘Filipino Artists Under 40 To Watch Out For.’ This artist on the rise has worked hard to hone his craft.

RICKY AMBAGAN, Uncut, 2018, Oil on canvas. Sold at the ‘Important Philippine Art’ auction, The Well-Appointed Life, September 2020.

Already, one can identify iconic elements in his most recent artworks: children, lamps, glimmering lights, and fantastical locations. His 2018 work, ‘Uncut,’ attracted a flurry of bids and was recently sold at the ‘Important Philippine Art’ auction as part of ‘The Well-Appointed Life’ in September, setting a record price for the artist

RICKY AMBAGAN, Tagpuan, 2016, Acrylic on canvas. Sold at the ‘Important Philippine Art’ auction, March 2019.

I’m Coming Home

‘I’m Coming Home’ is the culmination of Ambagan’s technical strengths and personal journey as an artist.

In many ways, his constant thirst to perfect his craft is what makes it difficult to box him in to any set definition. His mastery of human form and perspective easily places him within the traditional style of painting; however, Ambagan flips tradition on its head when concept itself becomes subject in true contemporary spirit.

RICKY AMBAGAN, Next, 2020 Oil on canvas.

Definitions aside, the story-book quality of Ambagan’s works has resonated with a growing audience, with all nine paintings in ‘I’m Coming Home’ selling out as soon as the exhibition opened.

Art and story lovers alike can immerse themselves in the ‘Headspace’ exhibition as part of Art Fair Philippines 2021. ‘Headspace: Recent Works by Ricky Ambagan, Stephanie Honrado, and John Paul Duray’, runs from Thursday, 6 May to Saturday, 15 May 2021 at the Salcedo Auctions showroom located in NEX Tower, Ayala Avenue. To view the online catalogue and the virtual gallery, simply click here.