Fruit Vendors is a painting that stands out among the works created by Magsaysay-Ho during the period of the 60s. Featuring three ordinary Filipino women selling fruits, the cubist flavour, strong contrast between light and shadows, vivid colours and swift brushstrokes all marked a usual piece produced by Magsaysay-Ho in the 1960s. Yet, the present painting grasps the audience’s attention by adding a sense of individuality to the figures and by engaging us with them. Rather than using a voyeuristic perspective like most of her other paintings, two figures in this piece are frontally facing the audiences, evoking a will of direct interaction with the viewers. Despite the angularity of lines and stylized figure forms, Magsaysay-Ho had skillfully deployed a warmer tonal palette and added in a subtle ray of light in the middle of the painting, arousing a more symphonious and harmonious vibe.
Once again using her favourite subject matter, Fruit Vendors demonstrated how Magsaysay-Ho had successfully encapsulated the light-hearted vitality of Filipino women by placing them in the midst of daily activities. Created in the period after Philippines’ survival of the Spanish colonization followed by the Japanese occupation, the historical backdrop during that particular period has added an extra layer onto the artist’s preferred motif. These paintings of genre scenes could thus be seen as a further applaud for the endurance of women, celebrating their strength and femininity.
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