OBRA 15 challenges the idea of black and white; tackles death penalty, vandalism

As one of the most anticipated art shows of this year, the Visual and Performing Arts Production Unit (VPAPU) goes beyond expectations yet again in its annual art exhibit OBRA 15: Black and White.

Held for the very first time at Gregoria Montoya Hall, the event ran from November 18 to 23.

With its intriguing theme that leaves a lot to the imagination, OBRA 15 is an attempt to “display the aesthetic and vibrancy through the simplest of palettes.” 

The different shades of black and white

If the venue improvisation isn’t enough of a surprise, then you’re in for a treat once you see what lies beyond the halls of the GMH Building, in a maze-like structure that leads its audience inside a tunnel of art. The pathway then opens up to the quadrangle where installations are placed, and where the audience themselves can also interact with.

Among the medium used are acrylic on canvas, oil on canvas, digital art, and collage art. Remarkably, this year’s OBRA also features sculptures made of wires, wood, and paper-mache.

“Gusto naming lumayo-layo sa mga conventional,” Trevor Santos, senior member and head for installation art, explains. “So pumili kami ng medyo unexpected.” 

Although when asked about his insights regarding the theme, black and white, Santos says that it just proves you can still make art using just those two—that, and the whole spectrum that lies in between.



A different side of OBRA

In all its years showcasing Lasallian talent, the black and white theme is actually first for OBRA. Contrary to the usual masterful blend of colors, this year’s OBRA is both a shot for simplicity and diversity, as VPAPU brings out the aesthetic between the two contrasting colours.

“Actually na-intimidate ‘yong iba naming mga audience,” Michaella R. Tamonan, executive vice president for internal affairs, said. “Na-curious sila, and sinasabi nilang, ‘naku, baka black and white lang ‘yong makikita namin … like, literal na black and white lang ‘yong pictures, na parang … mababa ‘yong standards nila. Mababa ‘yong expectations nila … na baka hindi mag-exceed do’n sa iniisip nilang ‘black and white’.”

Not only that, because of OBRA 15’s new location (formerly Alumni Hall, Conference Room B), new possibilities have opened up for the set design and layout, which meant more effort and hard work for VPAPU. 

“It took us two weeks to really finalize everything,” Tamonan added. “As in, day before OBRA, until Sunday, construction pa rin kami. Kasi first time din sa OBRA na ganito kalaki ‘yong venue.”

A poke on the ‘black and white’ or dichotomous way of thinking

VPAPU shared with us what lies beyond black and white, and how it reflects our current ways of thinking.

“Since black and white siya, kadalasan kasi nang makikita mo sa black and white is either good or bad lang,” VPAPU President James Basco said. “Kasi ‘di ba kapag ibang color, may masasabi kang impressions. Para sa kin, mas mabibigyan ng pansin [at] mare-relate natin ‘yong mga current issue ng bansa natin.”



Truly, OBRA 15 reinvented itself, as many of the artworks serve as a nudge to our current social issues. This is especially true for the installation art, which tackled serious and debatable themes such as vandalism and death penalty.

One of the prominent installations would be the ‘Torture Room’, which features an electric chair for the audience to sit on. The scene, which re-enacts the scenario of a convict stepping forward for his death sentence, does not only allow the audience to experience the terror firsthand, but also instill the sad and cruel reality behind it. 

“Isa rin sa mga reason kung bakit pinili namin yung torture room is yung interest sa pagbalik no’ng death penalty,” Santos explains. “I mean, anyone can take a seat do’n sa electric chair, get strapped, and die, di ba? Kahit simpleng krimen, di ba, alam naman natin yung justice system, di ba? Anyone rin can kill you.”

The idea that anyone can be sentenced to deatheven the innocentstill happens today, as the guilty ones continue to play the role of judge, jury and executioner. 

Not just “art for art’s sake”

Aside from the combined efforts of VPAPU members, OBRA 15 also opened the exhibit to contributors among which some are even works of DLSU-D Junior High students.

In addition, part of the proceeds of the event will support the scholarship of selected students of Jaime Hilario Integrated School – La Salle in Bagac, Bataan.

To further this cause, VPAPU collaborated with the Performing Arts Group, giving the audience a chance to witness the performances of La Salle Filipiniana Dance Company (November 18), DLSU-D Chorale (November 19), Teatro Lasalliana (November 20), Lasallian Pointes N’ Flexes Dance Company (November 21), Lasallian Pop Band (November 22) and DLSU-D Symphonic Band (November 23).


OBRA 15 tickets cost 25 pesos and comes with a stamp for the Student Engagement Program (SEP) passport.

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