Lot #031

Benedicto Cabrera

Sweepstakes Vendor
signed and dated 1988 (lower right)
pastel on paper
29” x 21” (74 cm x 53 cm)
Starting Bid : Php 1,200,000
HP + BP : Php 2,920,000
Provenance Private Collection, Manila
Bencab portrayed many disenfranchised people in his paintings –people living on the fringes of society. Bencab gives this young sweepstakes vendor not only an aura of street smartness cum innocence but also a sense of dignity.
In 1978, Angel de Jesus wrote: “As a young man, he painted the lowest and humble dwellers of Santa Cruz and Intramuros. Even then, he, like another man born of the city but one from Tondo, has begun to espouse the cause of the politically and economically disinherited.”
“Whereas Bonifacio moved in the area of politics, Bencab used his artist’s tools in his revolution of social commentary and satire. A continuous thread runs through all his works from the very beginning. They show infinite comparison for his countrymen in their past and present tribulations…”
Bencab started his career in the mid sixties, working as an illustrator for the Sunday Times Magazine. In 1966, Bencab held his first solo exhibition at the Indigo Gallery in Manila. His early works reflected the politicized climate of the period, in themes of nationalism and identity. He went a step further by reflecting on class and oppression, showing sympathy for workers, peasants, and the marginalized. Alice G. Guillermo writes that: “What is particularly of note in Bencab’s works is that they added an element of class consciousness to the nationalist theme and sympathy for the masses of the people.”