Sibol is Anton Mallari’s new collection of oil portraits that imagine a springing forth of change or new tidings. Mallari’s traditional portrait style shows a different, almost nostalgic side in this series, with his feminine subjects and botanical motifs awash with bolder floral patterns in different states of bloom and opacity.
Botanical elements are a natural fixture in and around Mallari’s hometown, Baguio City, and are a recurring motif in his works. Mallari’s early beginnings in art take root at the mountain city’s annual flower festival, which he would join during his elementary years, and a few more times later as an adult. The festival designated February for just that: a season of blooming, or Panagbenga in Kankanaey. Sibol is a silent nod of sorts to this season, with Mallari making generous use of flowers to illustrate change abloom from within at an otherwise bleak time.
Aware of how the pandemic affects each person differently, Mallari similarly portrays his subjects in different stages of transformation—or lack of—like flowers unfurling at their own time. Sibol retains the artist’s noir theme, while also adding softer colors and bolder gold linework, as if to signify a change of air or seasons. Transformation is messy, but change is stubborn. This series takes on the perspective of a faithful eye looking at the season’s hopeful, restorative potential.
— Nikki Ignacio