Lot 207
  • 207

Elmer Borlongan

150,000 - 250,000 HKD
1,000,000 HKD
bidding is closed


  • Elmer Borlongan
  • Waiting Shed
  • signed and dated 2008
  • oil on canvas
  • 214 by 152.5 cm; 84 1/4  by 60 in.

Catalogue Note

From the tender age of eleven, Elmer Borlongan has dedicated his life to drawing and painting lives of the working class in Philippines. Raised in Manila, Borlongan first learned how to paint at a children’s workshop taught by venerated painter-artist Fernando Sena. Later on, he pursued a major of painting at College of Fine Arts of University of the Philippines. As an active member in the local art scene, Borlangan has contributed to several artist-collectives and groups such as ABAY, Salingpusa and later, Sanggawa to produce works featured in survey shows and mural projects. He also received the Thirteen Artist Award from the Cultural Center of the Philippines in 1994.

Best described as “Figurative Expressionism”, his paintings are characterized by stylized figuration and idiosyncratic features such as bald heads, large, uneven eyes and elongated limbs. His subjects are rendered in distorted forms and posed in front of minimal background in order to amplify the everyday struggles of urban life in Manila. Notably, characters under his portrayal always process expressions of disconcertment and despair, highlighting the emotional depth and downtrodden of society. Gifted with a sense of sensitivity and compassion, Borlongan is not only keen to evoke empathy through his paintings, but also to espouse the humor implicit in the ordinary lives of people, as well as feats of resilience and vivacity in the face of poverty and hardships.

The present work, Waiting Shed, is an excellent example of the artist’s trademark style and lifelong devotion to represent the existence of urban life in the Philippines. In his signature use of contorted visages and elongated bodies, a depiction of a young boy playfully riding on his father’s shoulders along with a cat waiting in a desolated shed offers a whimsical glimpse of the ordinary daily life. Borlongan’s desire to show basic existences of the people through hints of humor, strains of decay and enchantments of play has garnered his paintings a sense of authenticity.