"To describe his art as "social realism" is... to sell it a bit short, considering the denouement of that genre. De Chavez is not a didactic Marxist, arguably more of a humanist. Yet, it's clearly "message art" nonetheless. However, unlike the social realists of a quarter century ago, he presents the image for the interpretation of the viewer, without a fixed (and often heavy-handed) symbolic meaning à la roman à clef. Ironically, this is closer to the original meaning of social realism, which, when it emerged as a reaction to decorative art, romanticism and the celebration of beauty, was more akin to photojournalism than the propoganda it became in the latter years of the 20th century. De Chavez himself says, simply, that his paintings are about the effects of colonization.
Paolo R. Reyes, Rogue Magazine, Don't Be A Stranger, Number 12, July 2008, Manila, p. 18