National Artist for painting Jerry Elizalde Navarro may not have the same recall now as many of his peers, like Bencab, Ang Kiukok, Jose Joya, Fernando Amorsolo, or Vicente Manansala, who, by their ubiquitous presence and prominence in the auction scene over the past decade, remain in the public consciousness. Instead, he occupies a more quiet place; mythic still, because of his prodigious output which are well-placed in private collections and museums, but rather impalpable to the general public, particularly the younger set of art collectors and connoisseurs. Yet this was not always the case. Navarro, in his lifetime, explored and excelled in various art fields. An elegant writer and poet, sculptor, graphic designer, and advertising maverick, he represented the Philippines in many international biennales for sculpture (Sao Paulo 1967, 1970,1972), and graphic design (Brno 1974, 1978) and participated in designing the Philippine pavilions in various world fairs and expos (1964 New York World Fair, 1975 Ocean Expo Japan, 1977 International Tokyo Trade Fair, 1979 Hamburg Trade Fair). His interdisciplinary practice; together with his wanderlust which landed him various grants, teaching positions, and exhibitions in Australia, the USA, Japan, and Indonesia; have made his works among the most elegant, cosmopolitan, and sophisticated among the Philippine artists of his time, vaulting his reputation as an artist, and garnering him the National Artist Award in 1999.

Born: 1924 San Jose, Antique, Philippines

  • 1947     Studied as a Ramon Roces Publications Scholar, School of Fine Arts, University of the Philippines, Manila
  • 1948     Moved to the University of Santo Tomas taking a course in painting. Became Art   Editor of the University’s school organ The Varsitarian
  • 1951     Received Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree, Major in Painting, University of Santo Tomas, Manila
  • 1954     Originated “incision painting” and created construction pieces of mixed media, including metal, wood and found objects
  • 1957     Visited Japan as guest of Japanese chapter of the Youth Association of Asia, observed traditional Japanese art
  • 1964     Served as member of the design group the Philippines participated in the New York World’s Fair; installed large iron mural at the Philippine site.

Recipient of a Creative Exchange Program from Compton Advertising , New York

Worked as an Art Director and Vice President for Creative and Print Production services

  • 1967     Represented the Philippines in Sculpture category, Sao Paolo Biennale, Brazil
  • 1969     Taught advanced advertising design , National Art School, Randwick, Sydney, Australia
  • 1970     Represented the Philippines in the sculpture category, Sao Paolo Biennale, Brazil
  • 1972     Represented the Philippines at the Biennale de Arts Graphiques, Brno, Czechoslovakia

Represented the Philippines in the sculpture category of sculpture at the 9th and 11th Art Biennales in Sao Paolo, Brazil

Represented the Certificate of Merit Award by the Art Directors Club of New York, U. S. A.

  • 1973     Appointed Director for Graphics, Design Center Philippines

1974     Represented the Philippines, Biennale de Arts Graphiques, Brno, Czechoslovakia

1975     Served as Graphics Designer for the Philippine participation, Ocean Expo, Okinawa, Japan

1977     Designed the Philippine booth, 12th Tokyo International Trade Fair, Japan

Designed the Philippine booth, 1st ASEAN Trade Fair, Manila, Philippines

1978     Represented the Philippines, Biennale de Arts Graphiques, Brno, Czechoslovakia

1979     Designed the Philippine Trade Exhibition, Hamburg Centrum, Hamburg, Germany

Acted as designer for the Philippine participation in TELECOM 79, Geneva, Switzerland

1980     Became first Filipino artist to be represented at the Yayasan Dharma Seni Museum Neka, Bali, Indonesia

1984     Participated in “Ugat Suri”, Intergallery Exhibition, (sculpture category),ASEAN Institute of Art, Manila, Philippines

Served as delegate, 2nd All-Asian Consultation on Christian Art, Mt.Makiling, Laguna

First Filipino artist to be represented at the Yayasan Dharma Seni Museum Neka, Bali Indonesia

1999     National Artist Award – October 14 at the Leonardo Locsin Hall of the NCCA, Intramuros


Selected Individual Exhibitions:

1954     First one-man exhibition, Philippine Art Gallery

1958     Mitsukoshi Art Gallery, Tokyo, Japan

1989     “Bali on My Mind”, Ayala Museum, Makati City

1993     “A Return to Abstraction”, Ayala Museum, Luz Gallery, Galleria Duemila

1995     “J. Elizalde Navarro: 45 Years of the Artist’s Work”, Metropolitan Museum of   Manila

1998     “DANSE” GSIS Theater, Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City

1999     “Selected Paintings and Sculptures”, Galeria Veintiuno, XXI

2000     “Jerry Elizalde-Navarro National Artist”, Galleria Duemila, SM Megamall

2003     “J. Elizalde-Navarro”, Art Center & Big & Small Art Co., Artwalk SM Megamall


Group Exhibitions:

2000     “Guhit Ulit”, Museum of Arts & Sciences, UST, Manila

1999     “Four-man show: Cruz, Navarro, Olazo, Wilwayco” Gallery III, Ayala Museum, Makati City

“Selection of Drawings”, The Drawing Room, Makati City

1997     “Breaking Boundaries”, The First Philippine Stock Exchange Art Exhibit PSE Plaza, Lobby, Makati and PSE Center Auditorium, Pasig City

“Modern Art” Galleria Duemila, The Art Center, SM Megamall

1995     “Nudes”, Two Man Exhibit, Navarro- Nuyda, Galleria Duemila

“Ako”, self portraits of selected artists both living and dead, Metropolitan Museum of Manila