Karera ng mga Kalabaw
signed and dated 1985 (lower left)
watercolor on paper 20” x 29” (51 cm x 74 cm)
Provenance: Private Collection, Quezon City
Celebrating rural life in the tradition of the Angono school, Angel Cacnio emphasizes the rugged power of carabaos rushing onward. The viewer would be quick to note the vitality and fidelity to the nature of Cacnio’s work. The vivid immediacy of the picture depends on the variety of actions that occur simultaneously; the figures are deliberately connected in mind and look in the same direction.
The delicate play of movements that echo and find balance in the work, and the decorative beauty of the clear outlines and shadows against the flat, pale ground, are carefully contrived. On the left, the man pushing his carabao with his feet firm on the ground counterbalances all the other men who are riding the beasts. The carabaos themselves, mostly seen from the front, may seem at first sight to have been caught as casually as in a snapshot, but their nervous silhouettes are distributed with the utmost finesse, and their dark shapes contrast in turn with the bright patches of the color of the men’s shirts. The bold frontality of the composition suggests a snapshot informality—and yet this only thinly veils our awareness of the subtle precision with which Cacnio has balanced the movements of the carabaos.