A fast-disappearing cultural form, the harana is a formal declaration of affection by a man to his beloved, expressed as a serenade at night. Often accompanied by his closest friends who would most likely be accompanying him with a guitar and other stringed instruments, the man’s song, often in the form of the soulful, melodious, and poetic kundiman, is heard not just by his beloved, but often by her family, and neighbors within earshot, making his romantic intent known not just to the object of his affection, but by the community in general.
Harana is a grand gesture that signifies not only affection, but the purity of intention, laid down most respectfully for the beloved, but also for everyone to bear witness to.
Edgar Doctor presents his exhibition as a heartfelt harana to those who would care to be touched by his paintings that, though silent and wordless, are nonetheless visually melodious with their lyrical abstract expressionism.
Layers of color, in various levels of transparency are punctuated with the rhythm of flowing lines, jagged lines, and contrasting colors, imbibing a lively rhythm and complexity to each piece. Each composition is a passionate paean to nature in her attributes as nurturing mother, transcendent beauty, and sustaining love. In the words of the artist, each piece is “frozen music” which connects to the innermost being of the viewer.
A consistent art competition winner, Edgar Doctor has been recognized since 1960, when at 18 years of age, his work Grazing Carabaos won third prize at the Shell National Students art Competition. His work Rizal Monument would win him the grand prize in this same competition four years later. He would win subsequent accolades in the Art Association of the Philippines (AAP) Annual Exhibition.
Doctor’s foray into sculpture is also marked by the Best Entry Award for his Metropolis #2 by the Society of Philippine Sculptors in 1971, and Economic Aggression would be the grand prize in 1972 in the AAP Annual Exhibition.
He has had over 25 solo exhibitions and countless group exhibitions in various institutions and galleries in the country and abroad, such as the International Exhibition of Drawings at the Triennial in New Delhi in 1978, The Festival de la Peinture in Cagnes Sur Mer, France and the VIII Biennial of Fine Arts in Valparaiso, Chile in 1985, among others. His works are in many important personal collections and a good number of institutional collections which include the National Museum of the Philippines, the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the Ateneo Art Gallery, De la Salle University Museum, GSIS Museum, The Central Bank Collection, The Philippine Center Collection, New York among many others. For his dedication and excellence in art, he has been awarded the Tanglaw ng Bayan Mayoralty Award in 1999 in Calabanga, Camarines Sur. He was recently awarded as one of the Lifetime Awardees of the 4th Las Piñas Kawayan Award for Visual Arts in 2021.
Edgar Doctor’s Harana is a call not only to appreciate and preserve the beauty of nature, but also to ponder community and how we live life in this fast-paced, impersonal city. It is a deep expression of the need for connection with ourselves, each other, nature, and the Creator from whom all these good things emanate from.
Harana is supported by the National Commission of Culture and Arts and 10 Days of Art by Art Fair Philippines.
Edgar Doctor’s Harana is presented by Art Lounge Manila at Molito Lifestyle Mall, Ayala Alabang, until tomorrow February 16.