Mysterious Travelling Carnival Poster

The Italian writer Umberto Eco once said that everything was permitted in the carnival. A place where amusement and whimsy go hand-in-hand, it’s no wonder that carnivals are often where all sorts of magical mysteries occur. The characters – clowns, puppeteers, sideshow oddities, magicians, and daredevils – all strive to tell stories, and bring each visitor into a world of playful exuberance with a tinge of thrilling enigmas that border on the supernatural. And just as you’re about to crack all its puzzles, they pack up and leave town–taking all their mysterious curiosities with them.

For its first exhibit of the new year, Galerie Stephanie attempts to capture some of that magic in a unique exhibition of prolific narrative artists – Francis Nacion, Carlo Ongchangco, Anthony Palo, and Gilbert Semillano – known for their carnival sense of macabre delights. Also participating the exhibition are Vincent de Pio, Camille Ver, Caress Banson, and emerging artist Kara Villaseran. Entitled “The Mysterious Travelling Carnival,” the exhibition displays the strengths of each artists in crafting worlds that showcase the fanciful characters of their art and the stories that they inhabit. It’s a wonderful and beautiful way to bring about the new year that is optimistic and full of hope.

“The Mysterious Travelling Carnival” will open on January 15, 2015 and run until January 26, 2015 at Galerie Stephanie, located at Parc Plaza Building, 183 E. Rodriguez Jr. Avenue (C-5), Libis, Quezon City. They may be reached through their landline at (632) 709-1488 or email at

The artists of this exhibition each contribute a high-quality works to the fulfillment of the thematic direction of a magic carnival. Carlo Ongchangco, for instance, uses the classic stories of the likes of western literature and combines them with a chibi-fied aesthetic influenced by Japanese manga as a jumping point for his lively paintings. In this exhibit, the University of Santo Tomas-trained artist manages to maintain a consistently unique style in fascinating character portraits that reflect upon the kinds of characters that one encounters in a carnival. Likewise, Anthony Palo’s contributions draw upon the power of the festivities of a carnival. Palo focuses on individual portraits–a great example being “Ringleader,” for its softer rendering of a whimsical carnival performer in the middle of his performance.

Francis Nacion, on the other hand, uses his superior technique to bring about the depiction of jugglers and other entertainers of a carnival. Nacion’s aesthetic conceit is to use recurring patterns to balance the canvas, giving his current oeuvre the visual look of an illustrated children’s book. This is evident in “Performer III,” where flat patterns shimmer on the performer’s costume. Gilbert Semillano, on the other hand, focuses on the mythical and surreal aspects of a carnival. A top artist in the Middle East, Gilbert Semillano has won several art competitions–including the Grand Prize of the 2007 ASEAN Art Competition in Kuwait, the Grand Prize of the 2008 Toyota Art Edge Competition, and 1st Prize at the 2008 Easter Telecoms Art Competition. For this exhibition, creates fantastical worlds and landscapes that truly echo the magic of a carnival.

A great new way to find inspiration in the year new is a trip to the carnival. Galerie Stephanie’s “The Mysterious Travelling Carnival” is a way for the art-lover to bring home a piece of that magic.