Pinoy LEGO users are promoting and preserving the legacy of great Filipino masterpieces - piece by piece.
An exhibit of famous paintings by National Artist Fernando C. Amorsolo recreated with LEGO bricks is currently on display in a public-friendly setting in the metro as part of a Philippine Independence Day campaign.
In case you weren’t able to catch their exhibit at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) last May, the Pinoy LEGO Users Group (PinoyLUG)’s Project AMORsolo, is being staged again at Ayala Malls in Glorietta 2 from June 4 to 12, 2022.
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PinoyLUG, a community of passionate Filipino LEGO builders and hobbyists who share the same interest in brick-building, connect with each other through LEGO exhibits and conventions.
In an interview with PhilSTAR L!fe, Leslie Araujo, president and LAN (Lego Ambassador Network) ambassador of PinoyLUG shared that the group is made up of a mix of professionals, office workers, lawyers, and college students.
Known in the toy community as trailblazers, the Adult Fan of Lego (AFOL) group has regular displays at ToyConPh, and several big pop-culture conventions. They also conduct movie screenings and produce fun videos and promo reviews related to LEGO and collaborate with different organizations working with children to help them “aspire to become future builders of tomorrow.”
Project Amorsolo, their biggest and most significant display yet, involved three teams of LEGO enthusiasts each working separately on plates for three paintings of National Artist Fernando C. Amorsolo, namely “Bayanihan,” “Dalagang Bukid” and “Early Traders.”
Araujo shared that the project aims to “bridge the past with the present through the legacy of art that speaks of our history, patriotism, and cultural pride” in a fun way.
“The dream was to have an awesome display from the Philippines that LEGO fans all over the world would be talking about. It will be one that speaks of our historical legacy as a nation - a creation that reflects our traits as a people – generous and helpful, gracious and beautiful,” Araujo told PhilSTAR L!fe.
For Araujo, the inspiration behind recreating Amorsolo’s iconic paintings with LEGO bricks also has a deeply personal story.
"In 2021, during the desolate hours of a second pandemic lockdown, when everyone turned to family as a source of comfort, memories of my departed father came to haunt me. It was him, the source of my strength and inspiration who has been driving me to achieve much more than I am able to accomplish," he shared.
"Searching for mementos from my dad, in the same house where he and my grandparents and my great grandparents had lived before I was born, I found his collection of postcards with prints of Amorsolo’s paintings. I looked at the prints on those postcards closely and then the spark of an idea came to me. This was going to be PinoyLUG’s next big project, the biggest and most challenging one. My LEGO family would work together to fulfill the dream, based on the legacy of a great Filipino artist,” said Araujo.
The LAN Ambassador shared that the exhibit took over a year to complete, with a lot of delays in sourcing materials caused by the pandemic.
"There were several phases from planning, to making the patterns, to buying the elements online, to waiting for the shipments to arrive, then the distribution, to building, to gathering again for assembly and finally framing and mounting," he said.
The LEGO brick paintings are versatile, and can be either hung on walls or can stand on their own. Araujo credits fellow PinoyLUG members Michael John Ng Cha and Jefferson Herrera on the architectural design.
According to Araujo, their initial exhibit at CCP was a success and was visited by a lot of families. However, the group wanted to bring the mosaic paintings to other local institutions for more people to see and appreciate.
"What has really set this project apart from the others is that the visiting parents teach their children about it, its cultural relevance and importance. They understand what is there and pass it on to their children as early as they should to instill some Filipino pride in them," he said.
After its run in CCP and Ayala Malls, the exhibit will be moving to other public spaces, including the National Museum, Shangri-La Mall, and Manila Hotel in the future.
“We want to generate buzz locally to prep it for a possible international destination which is the original mission of getting these at the LEGO House in Billund, Denmark,” he added.
“In doing this project, we are continuing to bridge the past with the present through the legacy of art that speaks of our history, patriotism, and cultural pride. And we are doing so with fun. Years from now, our children and those that follow after them would accomplish more – looking beyond what we have done today,” said Araujo.
The LEGO versions of famous Amorsolo paintings can be viewed free from June 4 to 12 at Glorietta Drive 2, Palm Drive Lobby.
The exhibit is part of the Independence Day campaign Pinoy Yarn!, which aims to celebrate Pinoy Pride by setting the spotlight on Philippine art, food, and tourist destinations at Ayala Malls.
Mall-goers can also shop for local products and support Pinoy entrepreneurs at The Finders Market: Pinoy Fair at the Palm Drive Activity Center, in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry and Silk Events this weekend.
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