Photo shows (from left): Three generations of artists from the Mallari family; Himig sa Hapong Tahimik by Ambrocio Mallari; Daffodils by Wencyl Mallari
In the world of art, talent is often considered an elusive and enigmatic quality. Ephemeral, even. A divine gift, perhaps? Yet, when we peer into the lives of certain families, it becomes evident that artistic talent can flow like a river, passing seamlessly from one generation to the next. In the case of the Mallari Family, it helps that the patriarch is a selfless mentor who is eager to share his talent, wisdom and experiences accumulated since the mid-Seventies to his siblings, cousins, neighbors, and — later on — his children.
The art of the Mallari Family is on view until Nov. 15 at Robinsons Land ARTablado, Level 3 of Robinsons Galleria. “Salinlahi” shows the artistic expression of this family of artists from Tarlac. From the youngest member of the family to Tatay Ambo, who continues to pursue his passion for painting at such a ripe old age.
Ambrocio “Ambo” Mallari was the grand prize winner in the Representational category in ARTablado’s first painting competition under the theme, “Create.” As a 64-year-old self-taught artist from Capas, Tarlac, the man proves that art is ageless, limitless and undeniably boundless. At the age of 12, while tending to the family’s carabao in their farm, Ambrocio began doing sketches. During his teenage years, he honed his skills by painting movie billboards in Manila. In 1975, he started painting on canvas — going from painting stills of FPJ-Dolphy flicks to whatever topic he found interesting at that moment: still life, rice fields, etc. In 1983, he worked overseas: working with other Filipino artists in Israel to create paintings on velvet cloth.
For Tatay Ambo, art is not a solitary affair. He wanted to share that gift, the feeling of dabbing paint onto canvas and create an entire universe altogether. All of his seven daughters and one son developed a keen interest in art, leading to collaborative painting sessions within the family.
Notably, Tatay Ambo’s daughter, Wencezyl Mallari, and his only son, Weriel Mallari, have gained recognition for their unique painting styles, participating in art exhibitions both in the Philippines and abroad. Ambrocio’s grandchildren, nieces, and nephews have passionately embraced the world of art because of the old man’s overarching influence.
The Mallaris held their first family exhibit in 2022 in Tarlac and are now showcasing their art in ARTablado.
According to Wencezyl, they chose the title “Salinlahi” to underscore the captivating narrative of a family of artists whose creativity and passion for art form an unbroken chain from one generation to the next.
“Hinubog po ni Tatay Ambo ang aming talent sa pagpinta. Kaming mga anak niya na tinuturuan niya, nakakapagturo na din po kami sa aming mga pamangkin — para sa mga susunod na henerasyon sila naman po ang makapagturo.”
Tatay Amo beams with pride when asked about the artistic prowess of the Mallaris — even up to the youngest member of the clan.
“Masaya ako dahil hinasa nila at ibinahagi ang kaloob na talento ng Diyos. Kayaman ito para sa aming lahat.”
The family members chose ARTablado as their venue for their first exhibition outside of Central Luzon because ARTablado is all about inclusivity as well as providing opportunities to artists outside the fringes of the Manila art scene.
The people behind Robinsons Land Corporation (RLC) believe in the ingenuity and artistry of Filipinos. RLC has allocated spaces at Robinsons malls in Antipolo and Ortigas to hold exhibitions for art practitioners who deserve to showcase their hard work, grit and perseverance. ARTablado’s impact has been instantaneous for members of the art community who have been pining for a platform where every artist — from the up-and-coming, to grizzled veterans such as Tatay Ambo — gets the chance to shine.
Wessa, another talented daughter of Tatay Ambo shares, “Napakalaking prebilehiyo para sa amin ng pamilya ko ang makapag-exhibit sa ARTablado. It helps us to showcase our talents and convey our artistic message to viewers to appreciate the beauty of life, the beauty of Filipino art even more.”
“Salinlahi” not just showcases the artistic skills of the Mallari Family, it also emphasizes values and the love of nature.
“Although we grew on realism, our Tatay Ambo allowed us to discover our own style and identity,” concludes Wessa “Through his guidance and love, we our discovering our self, our style, and we continue to build our own identity as an artist.”