Kariton, Harana, Tulian ng Bayan, Liposuction, Ondoy and many other paintings by Joseph Otep Bañez are on display and for sale at Islaw Art Gallery along J.P. Rizal Street in Barangay Quinale, Paete, Laguna. A brainchild of Otep himself, the art space is a showcase of Paete’s creative talent other than wood carving.
Islaw Art Gallery
We cannot agree more with artist and U.P. professor Glenn Cagandahan when he said that Paete is the Fine Arts Capital of the Philippines. While for centuries this lakeshore town in Laguna has been acclaimed for its woodcarvings and master carvers, Paete is home to a group of artists whose vocations have flourished in the international and local art markets.
At Islaw Art Gallery, creative works by the phenomenal Dominic Rubio, Jovan Benito, Jerry Morada, Glenn Cagandahan, Odette Cagandahan, and Bayani Ray Acala are displayed along side with Otep’s creations.
Our First Otep
In collecting art, it has been our principle to get artworks from artists we’ve personally met because we want to discover from them the story behind their creations. Meeting Otep in 2009, we’ve learned that his composition and style were influenced by comic illustrator Larry Alcala and the folksy and humorous themes of his paintings were inspired by real-life episodes from his home town.
But more than just learning his style and theme, we also learned from Otep his story as a struggling artist who went door to door from gallery to gallery to market his painting. Otep even experienced rejection and insults from an unscrupulous art dealer.
But those are things of the past. Mag iiyakan lang tayo pagnapagkwentuhan natin ulit, says Otep when we attended the intimate opening of his own gallery in Paete together with his fellow artists, family, friends, appreciators, and the curious.