Provenance: Provenance: Private Collection, U.S.A.


The unmistakable lightness that seemingly flows and blankets the airy canvas is a style and technique that is undoubtedly that of Romeo Tabuena. Inspired by both the visual aesthetics and the timeless technique of Chinese scroll paintings, Tabuena sought to redefine the canons of Filipino art by reconnecting it with its roots in the ancient Oriental tradition. In this work, the apparent serenity brought about by his inclusion of an ethereal fog is almost palpable to the viewer. The essence of the carabaos, defined as totally weightless, flat-out forms, has an ethereality unmistakably Tabuena’s. The complexity of basic Filipino culture and its nuanced richness have inspired the work of innumerable artists. So many visual elements from the mother and child to the furrowed slopes in the background are horizontally compressed into the canvas without any effect of crowding or jumbling. Tabuena’s work is an intense and articulate exploration of many latently proletariat themes touched by quiet cultural symbols, local imagery without the manifestation of social concerns.