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An Interplay of Art and Religion: Santo-Making Lecture | September 5, 2015, 2-5PM


“Man, with his symbol-making propensity, unconsciously transforms objects or forms into symbols (thereby endowing them with great psychological importance) and expresses them both in his religion and his visual art. The intertwined history of religion and art, reaching back to prehistoric times, is the record that our ancestors have left of the symbols that were meaningful and moving to them. Even today, as modern painting and sculpture show, the interplay of religion and art is still alive.” – Carl Gustav Jung


Lopez Museum and Library invites you to Ukit: The Art of Santo Making, an artist talk on the tradition of santo-making, from the religious images it employs to the actual process that goes into making the figures. Join Dr. Esperanza Gatbonton and Open Ends guest artist, Riel Hilario as they give new perspective on these familiar tradition figures in in contemporary Philippine culture.

Among Riel Hilario’s sculptures are figures of canine bodies with human heads. These figures of dogs are reminiscent of the illustrations of San Roque’s dogs in Dr. Gatbonton’s book, “A Heritage of Saints: Colonial santos in the Philippines” shown in the image below.

*Illustrations of San Roque’s dogs taken from: Gatbonton, E.  A Heritage of Saints: Colonial santos in the Philippines. Manila: Editorial Associates, 1979.


RIEL HILARIO comes from a family of sculptors of santos. He will talk about how his contemporary art practice was transformed by his early exposure to religious imagery. Riel has had several solo exhibitions in the Philippines (The Drawing Room and Art Informal, among others), New York, Singapore, and Paris and was one of the Cultural Center of the Philippine’s Thirteen Artists Awardees back in 2012. In the same year, he was also named one of the winners of the Ateneo Art Awards and Philippine Art Awards.

DR. ESPERANZA GATBONTON will speak about the scholarly work that she has done on the subject highlighting her published researches (Philippine Religious Carvings in Ivory and A Hertiage of Saints). Last 2014, she was also a panelist at the conference entitled Transpacific Engagements (Ayala Museum).

Ukit: The Art of Santo Making with Dr. Esperanza Gatbonton and Riel Hilario will be held at the Lopez Museum and Library on September 5 (Saturday) 2-5 pm. Admission is Php 115 for students and Php 135 for adults. For inquiries please call us at 6312417 or email us at

Art by Riel Hilario, now on view at the Lopez Museum & Library


A Heritage of Saints Title Page

For Lopez Library research, please call us at (+63 2) 631-2425 

Museum Entrance fee:
Php 100 for adults
Php 80 for HS and College students
Php 60 for Elementary students

Museum hours: 
Mondays to Saturdays (except holidays) from 8 AM to 5 PM
The Lopez Museum and Library is at the ground floor, Benpres Building, Exchange Road corner Meralco Avenue