In the past few years, Paolo Torres has often caught himself contemplative in remembering the passing of loved ones, from relatives and friends to celebrities and idols, even complete strangers in the news—and it is in this abstract state of self-reflection wherein he has felt drawn to create, reconcile the metaphysical vis-a-vis the loss of life, and pray for some sense of catharsis.
This exhibition, aptly titled Angels, presents a collection of characters in prayer, with each subject having a pair of wings behind their backs. Essentially, praying is a confessional, the chanting of a creed done through the act of talking back to one’s self, usually in a deep and ruminating, hypnotic-like state. And for many in the Philippines, faith is the ultimate lifeline that transcends social class and status: “When all else fails, God will provide.” These cartoonish avatars—through their hands clasped together—serve as a reminder that through each and every piece, there exists a being that bears a hopeful wish for good tidings.
Paolo does not want to turn the conversation into a dialogue about religion, but instead open up more avenues in understanding grief and what it means to be blessed by this earth, sharing moments, touching lives. In Angels, the audience is bound to be confronted by this question: Is the value of one’s life found in how they are remembered by others around them?