The artistic legacy of the late Benjamin D. Valenciano Sr. is evident in his multi-generational family of visual artists. His artwork depicts ‘Filipinized’ wooden sculptures of our Lady and the Infant Jesus, St. Joseph, a beardless Crucified Christ, and Stations of the Cross in the famed St. Joseph the Worker Chapel. Built by the Ossorio family, it is also known as the Angry Christ Church of Victorias Milling Company, Negros Occidental - the cane sugar producing province of the Philippines. Benjamin Sr. was a common post-war carpenter who carved machete wooden handles when Belgian-American artist Ade de Bethune discovered his uncommon talent. The city of Victorias honoured him with a Malihaw Award for his contribution to society.
What’s in the DNA naturally gets passed on, add to it limitless hours of learning and practice to become skilled at what they do. Sons Ireneo and Benjamin Jr. ventured into oil paintings, charcoal pencil drawings and wood sculptures. The province soon recognized their abilities in the sculpted statues of the crucified Christ on a wheel cart and the Virgin Mary in Filipiniana terno in the Chapel of the Cartwheels of the Gaston family in Sta. Rosalia, Manapla and the wall-painted Stations of the Cross at Biscom Chapel of Binalbagan-Isabela Sugar Company Inc.
Younger siblings Brosix, Romeliz I and Oeneri also pursued their talents in oil, watercolor and coffee painting, sculpture, charcoal portraits, drawings, photography and add to the list, the performing arts. The late Romeliz I achieved laudable success in both solo and group art exhibitions, reaping in 2016 the next Malihaw Award in Visual Arts, after his late father.
Third generation visual artists Dennis and architect Benjamin III epitomize the spiritual, moral, cultural and social issues of modern life, portraying extreme contrast of lights and shadows in distinct human figures. Both are highly accomplished in their use of coffee, oil, acrylic and watercolor mediums, pen and ink, and wood sculpture. Both have conducted art exhibits in various cities in the Philippines and abroad, acknowledged by art collectors in the US and Europe.
Bede Dominic, Indonesia-based engineer and main collaborator of this magazine article and behind the Valenciano weblink, is fulfilled with coloured pencils and photography while Fr. Rosmon Miguelangelo, SDB does oil paintings and sculptures given free time out of a hectic commitment to the priesthood.
The youngest of Valenciano artists are advancing their mark using traditional alongside contemporary, modern mediums. Benjamin IV excels in acrylics, Jose Ynego delves into digital arts, Jose Mitchell transcends watercolor and acrylics while Dea Elizabeth impresses with her pencil drawings and poster paintings.
To each his own distinct art style. But what brings about harmony and a sense of cohesion among generations of Valenciano art? It is primarily the legacy of patriarch Benjamin Sr., robust family values, religious, and sociocultural-economic themes exceptionally interwoven, giving face to rural life, the youth, family, the plight of sugarcane cutters and concern to safeguard frontliners from the current covid pandemic. Dennis and his group of artists contributed part of their online art proceeds for this purpose. He and son John Mitchell created do-it-yourself protective face covers and donated locally.
So how does this family pass on its immense reservoir of flair and expertise to future generations and society? It comes naturally for the experienced to support young members’ artistic growth within the family and community through art workshops where fundamental and technical skills are taught, sharing of insights, of techniques and nuances, and passing on generations of inspiration, encouragement and visual art mentoring. Check out https://bdvalenciano.wixsite.com/valencianoarts, or connect with firstname.lastname@example.org