B. Philippines, 1939
Pagoda Festival in Bocaue, Bucalan, 2002
Signed and dated “Belleza 2002” on lower right
Oil on canvas
71 x 67 cm
Provenance Private Collection, Singapore
RM 1,500 – RM 3,000
Norma Belleza began by painting dark and sombre representations of religious subjects. Then, she progressed into colourful and detailed works on folk genre subjects, including Metro Manila aides, peasants in various rural activities, women vendors, and potters. She is also known for emphasising the physical strength and native appearance of her subjects, as seen in this festival. All of them are drawn portly, with archetypal Oriental features that make up the Filipinos. The family here is huddled closely together, and is surrounded by the village scenery and everything that comes with festivities. The subject is easy to gauge – it is clearly a religious festival. However, the subsequent intricacy of skill and artistic flair that the artist uses makes this piece an absolute stunner. Norma Belleza was born in San Fernando, Pampanga on May 3, 1939 to a family of movie marquee and billboard painters, where billboard printing was still scarce at that time. Moving to Manila, she obtained a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts at the University of Santo Thomas in 1962. in the years to come, her work continues to be displayed and included at solo and joint exhibitions, art books, book covers, magazines and journals.