With his dispossessed people, Bencab explores the mother and child theme, the Madonna of the Slums theme in particular. The mother’s arms are tenderly wrapped around the child’s body, as if she were clinging to her own life. The details are spare - the figures fluidly delineated with neutral grays and somber blues. The embrace of a single hand is enough to convey the intimacy of the figures. Much of Bencab’s art reflects on oppression, showing sympathy for workers, peasants, and the marginalized. Bencab’s exploration of form and volumes found its way out of the late neorealism and high abstraction of the sixties, evolving towards figurative expression in the seventies through the contemporary era.
Awarded National Artist of the Philipines for Visual Arts (Painting) in 2006, Bencab has been noted as “arguably the best-selling painter of his generation of Filipino artists.”