Thirty-two artworks by 27 Filipino artists, many of which have never been seen by the Philippine public, are now on exhibit at the Ayala Museum.

Crossings: Philippine Works from the Singapore Art Museum chronicles close to one hundred years of Philippine art from Fabian de la Rosa’s portrait of Jose Rizal in 1902, the works of Fernando Amorsolo, H.R. Ocampo, Galo Ocampo, and Carlos “Botong” Francisco, to Nunelucio Alvarado’s Crossing in 2000.

The exhibit was officially launched on November 8 at a gala for Ayala Museum partners and donors highlighted by the signing of the memorandum of understanding between Ayala Foundation chairman Jaime Zobel de Ayala and Singapore Ambassador-at-Large and chairman of the National Heritage Board Prof. Tommy Koh. Crossings is the beginning of a five-year collaboration between the Ayala Foundation and Singapore’s National Heritage Board which aims to strengthen cultural ties between the Philippines and Singapore.

Commenting on the significance of the exhibit and partnership, Zobel said: “We are pleased to have helped pioneer a first: the return to our shores, if only for a limited time, of the Filipino artworks considered meritorious by the Singapore Art Museum. They are the ambassadors of the Filipino genius in the arts and of our collective Southeast Asian contribution to the arts of the world.”

The select number of paintings and sculpture from the permanent collection of the Singapore Art Museum represent three critical periods in the Philippines’ progress as a nation: before and after World War II (1930s-1960s), Martial Law (1972-1986), and post-EDSA 1 (1986-2000). Supported by the Embassy of the Republic of Singapore, Crossings is also part of Zero-In Transitions, the annual multi-sited exhibition consortium of the Ateneo Art Gallery, Ayala Museum, the Lopez Memorial Museum and Museo Pambata ng Maynila.

Prof. Koh noted that the title of the exhibition is appropriate because the artworks have crossed many boundaries from the time they left the Philippines to their exhibition at Ayala Museum and their eventual return to Singapore.

“Our Philippine art collection has always been displayed in a regional context,” Prof. Koh explained. “The works presented in this exhibition thus reflect the many choices that we have made in our attempts to understand Philippine art in relation to the art of the region. We hope that the collection will grow to enable Singaporeans to appreciate the richness and dynamism of Filipino artists and their art.”

Crossings is open to the public until June 12, 2005. The exhibition is accompanied by a 150-page full color exhibition catalog that is available for sale at the Museum Shop.

Ayala Museum was dedicated to the Filipino people in October as the high point of Ayala’s 170th anniversary. It is open on Tuesday to Friday from 9 AM to 7 PM and on Saturday and Sunday from 10 AM to 6 PM. For inquiries, please call 757-7117 to 21 or visit www.ayalamuseum.org.