signed and dated 2009 (lower right)
oil on canvas
48” x 36” (122 cm x 91 cm)
Juanito Torres’s paintings of historical conflict differ markedly from the traditional in mood, being more theatrical and less graphic, plus a generous dose of literally childish expressions, no matter how serious. Here, not one nor two but everybody in the picture might as well be portraying the bolo-wielding Andres Bonifacio, all with their arms raised.
Torres has gained attention with what has been seen as very Pinoy comedic cum historic subjects with an ever-present askal (an abbreviation of asong kalye or Philippine street dog, now called aspin or asong Pinoy) observing the bawdy scenes. The dog is always
a most engaging character, and an askal is incorporated into an otherwise historical cum humorous tableau of things with a Filipino temperament.
Although always interested in the pompous stories told in a grand manner by historic paintings, he responded to the ever-present challenge of combining traditional high art with a tangible identification with the masses, especially the younger generation. Thus it became a staple in his art to incorporate children as the dynamic subjects of his paintings picked from the pages of local history. Torres used children as players in the role of soldiers and the audience wouldn’t be surprised if actual children had to pose for the occasion.