fanstastic painter of modern art
Ronna Manansala, is not easy being the grand daughter of National Artist Vicente Manansala,
especially if you’re building a career as a painter. Her years of childhood were spent in a happy family atmosphere. Weekends and summer vacatipns were spent in the house of the farmed artist and painter he fondly calls Lolo Enteng. Though she was never
allowed by her lolo to go to his studio being his sacred place, she would peek from the attic while she silently watches and observes her Lolo’s masterly strokes and moments of creation. She remembers this as her
moments of curiosity and wonder, to be one, yet at a distance with her Lolo in pure apperciation of every masterpiece. She would always find comfort in the mixed smell of paint and turpentine and the smell of good home cokked meals from her grandmas’ kitchen. This was home to her and this is what she longed for. Years would pass as she pursued a parallel career in the arts as a dancer,
having had a background in classical and jazz ballet. And so she danced. It was where she was happiest at the moment, entertaining an audience and accepting their adulations. Painting though was not forgotten.
When she finds time, she paints as a form of meditation and as a way of melting her own problems away. It is also a way of connectiong with her Lolo, remembering as a child when not playing with her Lolo she would use to sit on his lap, hearing his stories and kind words,
sharing in his love and joys. It would bring back time to the days in his grandpa’s dining table, talking endlessly about life while enjoying the home cooked meals of her lola.
Then love got in the way. She was happy for a while but it never really worked out. But she was gifted with a child and that to her was enough. Motherhood is something to be proud of and she was determined to be good at it. Being single mother prompted her to seek greener pastures in foreign land to support her child. After seeking the permission her lolo, lola and mom, she worked abroad to support her child. Those were trying times of longing for her child and family while being far away. After long years of toiling in a foreign land,
her mother’s illness made her come home for good. Amidst troubled times, she again finds comfort in painting to express her emotions and pour out his feelings. At the saddest moments of her life, she paints…
as a means of pure expression, raw and transparent, displaying her wounds and heartaches while borrowing and applying the talent and which she has silently learned from his beloved Lolo Enteng. He would always remember her Lolo saying, „If you can’t be the best, you have to be one of the best!“. These words continue to linger in her mind.
One reason why she was for a time afraid to display her talent was that if would never measure up to her Lolo’s standards. But she was wrong. The moment she exposed her works, her peers would appreciate and buy
them and would commision her to do more.
There is a striking resemblance to her works compared to Mang Enteng’s. She would use the same subjects of ordinary rural Filipino
folks in various activities, painted in cubism style in brown and earthy tones reminiscent of a Manansala Masterpiece. What makes her works uniquely her own is that she is able to project the raw and pure character of a
strong woman in her works, depicting her grandma,mother and herself. Her works silently speaks of the true beauty of a woman,calm,simple, strong and in touch with God. She is always inclined to do mother and
child as she treasures the love of her grandma and mother. And so she paints, and amidst the smell of paint and tupentine she’s suddenly transported back in time to a place she calls home, in the comforting arms of a real life hero she fondly calls Lolo Enteng.