​Planet MMXX – The First Wave

May 20 – June 4, 2021
Secret Fresh, G/F Ronac Art Center
Ortigas Avenue, San Juan City
1504 Metro Manila, Philippines   





Humor has always been key to how Filipinos interact with each other, and the world.  Humor makes light of serious situations and makes the seemingly absurd , bearable – like how many of us Filipinos would liken the social distancing seats to the COVID-testing area to a board exam where cheating is not allowed. Noon-time variety shows, the pastime of the masses, always has a comedian for a lead.  And often, like a court jester, he not only dishes out jokes, but articulates popular opinions and biases, but sometimes, gets to play the conscience of the public.

In the visual arts, humor has been associated with escapism, like the comics we used to read in our youth for the laughs. But the right jab at the right time has also been used as a potent form of social criticism – capable of shaping public opinion, questioning boundaries, long-held beliefs or even power  relationships, and advance critical discourse.  Humor offers a safe space to ruminate on controversy, to understand alternative readings of our shared experiences of the world, and sometimes, even a breakthrough.

Daniel dela Cruz’s PLANET MMXX – the first wave presents a reading of our  experiences that started in 2020.  Presented as a caricature – in this case, a reduction of  the various characters and occurrences in what could be argued as the worse year we’ve all collectively experienced (and continue to experience); its effectiveness lies in its ability to express a complex idea through a common vocabulary and through rather adorable characters presented in the binary of the good B.O.T.S. and V.A.C.C.I.N.E. against the bad C.R.O.C.S., P.A.S.A.W.A.Y. and the deadly V.I.R.U.S.! 

Markedly different from Daniel dela Cruz’s metal sculptures which inspire awe, the sculptures of solid and laminated wood, shiny metal, and clear glass provide a warmer, friendlier foil to his more established body of work.  Seen collectively, they provide a safe zone to re-examine the complex situation we are in, and hopefully inspire not just laughs and smiles, but an understanding which would foster empathy and action.  In this  distant planet where CROCS, VIRUS, and P.A.S.A.W.A.Y. rule, BOTS and VACCINES fight to save what is good.

PLANET MMXX – the First wave is presented jointly by Secret Fresh and Art Cube Gallery. Part of the proceeds will be for the Visual Arts Helping Hands Foundation Pandemic relief fund. This artist foundation provides health care and hospitalization assistance to members of the visual arts community.       

                                                              Ricky Francisco

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