The Convergence of Realities
We all have reached this at one point, be it different memories that have somehow merged with imagined memories, that runs away from the mundane thoughts of the original memory to mysterious and evocative incidents that are both melancholic and romantic in nature and seems familiar yet very strange to one’s mind.
Manalo creates works that reflect on the belief of the universality of human emotion, that despite the differences in culture, the events that circle one’s life is no stranger to a person from different countries. Some works are portrayed by a person seen from behind, as if to reflect on the general feeling of contemplation we have at one point felt.
However, some recent works also reflect on Manalo’s search for true enlightenment and the connection of past lives to the present one. An example to this can be seen on the image where the title of this exhibition comes from: The Convergence of Realities wherein the artist reflected on the in-between of lives, where one enters a new life after death to live again and try to reach enlightenment. Recently, the artist started to follow an enlightened master and from the teachings it is said that the reason that the person lives is to reach enlightenment, or for the soul to reach the point where all its karma is reduced and will have no more reason to be reincarnated and live throughout pain and bliss or much worse, we could be reincarnated as animals or insects which has an extremely small chance of being enlightened. The artist’s search for true enlightenment has made him go and live his life in Taiwan where he has found and has been following a true enlightened master.
According to Sakyamuni Buddha who is the founding figure of Buddhism, the possibility of being reincarnated as a human is like getting a handful of sand in the Ganges River in India and the remaining sand that gets stuck in the fingernails will be the lucky souls that would be picked to have a human body. With that said, there is this unsettling thought that having a human body is extremely precious and this chance shouldn’t be wasted.
The portrayals of children in the works of Manalo also shows the artist’s interest on the usual instances of the children to have vague memories of their past life, hence the stories of children stating some phrases which they have remembered from their recent life and the unusual and uncanny creativity they have.