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Layug, son hold art exhibit in Italy for PH Independence Day

BETIS, GUAGUA, Pampanga—Ecclesiastical artist Wilfredo “Willy” Layug and his son Josef Andre are mounting a joint exhibit at the Philippine Consulate General in Milan, Italy starting on June 12.

The exhibit “Suli ning Betis” opens the consulate’s celebration of Philippine Independence Day, said Consul General Elmer Cato.

“Their creative works hope to inspire pride in Italy-based Filipinos generate interests in Philippine tourism among foreigners.

According to Layug, the exhibit “shows our pride of place for Betis and features us as among the inheritors of Betis and its cultural, religious and historical heritage.”

Betis consisted of seven villages, which were attached to nearby Guagua town in 1903. Despite being annexed, the former town’s furniture-making and woodcarving crafts have continued to flourish as craftsmen and artists struggled to keep the traditions going.

In the exhibit that is set to last until June 27, Layug presents four paintings and a three-panel bas relief that renders the conversion of Betis from a Muslim settlement to a Roman Catholic bastion.

Layug’s son, also known as “Totek,” employs traditional and modern techniques in the three paintings and two sculptures he is presenting in the exhibit.

The elder Layug, 64, was born in the woodcarving village of Sta. Ursula, Betis in Guagua. The Roman Catholic Church bestowed on him the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice in 2016 in recognition of his service to the faith through his ecclesiastical art works, which count over 100 retablo (tableaus) and thousands of rebultos (in- the-round statues) , relievo (bas relief) and paintings. He crafted a number of art pieces for papal visits.
Layug was conferred many awards including the Presidential Medal of Merit in 2009.

He continues to hone the craft by learning new techniques through apprenticeships under Jose Antonio Navarro Arteaga, Francisco Romero Zafra and Pablo Romero.

Totek, 28, is the youngest son of ecclesiastical artist Wilfredo “Willy Layug.
Totek graduated from the University of Santo Tomas in Fine Arts, later taking studies at the Barcelona Academy of Arts in Spain. He uses modern techniques in ecclesiastical and non-religious subjects.
Totek was commissioned to make the monument of the anti-Japanese army Hukbo ng Bayan Laban sa Hapon, the first of its kind in the Philippines, in San Luis, Pampanga.