Filipino-American Artist JEFRË Holds Solo Exhibit at Metropolitan Museum of Manila

After a decade as a creator of iconic artworks worldwide, USA-based Filipino-American artist JEFRË turns eastward to his ancestors’ homeland, the Philippines, with Points of Origin, his very first solo museum show in the country. The homecoming exhibition is a celebration of the monumentality of the artist’s accomplishments, and a way of connecting his two facets, his two homes: that of his origins and the home of his American dream. 

The exhibition oscillates between the personal and the universal. JEFRË has achieved the incredible feat of communicating seamlessly across various cultures via his art; relentlessly investigating what makes us universally human and what it means to be in between, from here and from there, once more connecting the dots, from point to point.

“For many years my work has been about connecting people to culture,” JEFRË says. “My debut solo exhibit at The M is an opportunity to share these connections and also discover my point of origin.”

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Encompassing past works as well as his current practice, the exhibition takes as its point of departure pieces from his debut USA solo museum exhibition held in 2021, complemented by newer artworks created for the Metropolitan Museum of Manila show. These include sculptures inspired by the energy and emotions evoked by the world’s great cities.

Selected pieces from the artist’s portfolio have been scaled down. His once-bound, site-specific, monumental sculptures and installations may now be experienced within the walls of the museum.  The exhibition’s curator,  Coralie Claeysen-Gleyzon, considers this “a seminal moment in his art career.  It is an exciting project and especially meaningful for JEFRË as it will be his first time exhibiting his work in a museum setting in his homeland.  The significance of bringing his art across borders, to his place of origin, where his story ultimately began, is both humbling – like that of a child going home, but also a source of pride, and a moment of sheer joy and celebration.”

Points of Origin is presented by the Metropolitan Museum of Manila in partnership with Philippine Airlines, with additional support from Megawide Corporation and Asian Tigers Philippines.  

Capt. Stanley K. Ng, President and COO of Philippine Airlines, hails the creative collaboration between The M and the artist.  “We laud JEFRË for his unique form of art which provides a sense of place, and which celebrates people as the building blocks of society. We laud The M for living up to its commitment to serve as a venue to showcase Filipino ingenuity and artistry. Philippine Airlines is a proud partner of this artistic endeavor that celebrates outstanding Filipino talent.”

Frederick Tan, COO of Megawide Construction Corporation notes that “Innovation and excellence are inherent in our DNA, as we are at the forefront of cutting-edge technology and solutions in construction. This exhibition showcases the realization of a dream that all Filipino builders work towards. We at Megawide hope to be inspired by JEFRË’s ability to construct world-class structures that embody Filipino excellence, culture, and heritage.

The exhibition is free and open to the public starting February 15, 2023. Pre-registration and confirmed time slots are mandatory for entry. Pre-registration should be made at least a day before the visit. JEFRË will then have an artist talk on February 18.

About the Artist

For two decades, Filipino American artist JEFRË has placed monumental artworks worldwide. An accomplished public artist and landscape architect by trade, he has created landmarks that have the power to transform public spaces and act as agents of change. When a heart attack at the age of 35 redirected the course of his professional career, JEFRË deliberately chose to develop his independent art practice, creating sculptures around the US and the Philippines, that both bring a sense of wonder and delight, and an instant connection with the public.  In 2020, JEFRË had his first solo museum exhibition at the Orlando Museum of Art in Orlando, Florida, in the United States of America. Titled Points of Connection, the exhibition was the occasion for the artist to reflect on his journey as a second-generation migrant to the United States, and the health issues that acted as a catalyst and propelled him to embrace a fulfilling art career dedicated to creating meaningful experiences for audiences worldwide.

Some of his notable works in the Philippines:

  • Contour Series (2015) – SM Aura
  • Talking Heads (2016) – SM Ecom 5
  • Heaven’s Gate (2019) – Robinsons San Pedro 
  • Bayani and Pag-Asa (2021) – Double Dragon East
  • Time (2022) – SM Megamall 
  • The Victor (currently under construction, 2023) – Robinsons Bridgetowne, slated to be the tallest public art sculpture in the Philippines

In addition to JEFRË’s work being exhibited in numerous institutions, many notable collectors and celebrities own his pieces, such as international celebrities Nick Jonas, Priyanka Chopra, Richard Branson, Charlie D’Amelio, and local Filipino icons Piolo Pascual, Iza Calzado, Yassi and Issa Pressman, Billy Crawford, and Coleen García.

A “Third Culture Kid” – since he was raised in a culture different from his parents and is a blend of two very diverse cultural spheres- JEFRË finds himself at a metaphorical bridge, between East and West. Being both an insider and an outsider, JEFRË is an individual with an adaptable and hybrid identity whose life as an artist is defined by the many travels that have shaped his practice. 

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